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Milos Raonic faces make-or-break 2017

Milos Raonic failed to build on his Wimbledon final appearance as he crashed out in the second round of the US Open. The Canadian was seeded fifth for the competition following his exploits at the All England Club, but was defeated by American Ryan Harrison in four sets at Flushing Meadows.

Raonic’s search for his first Grand Slam crown will be put on hold until 2017 where he could have the chance to break out as Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray approach their thirties. The 25-year-old is backed in the latest Betway tennis betting odds at 16/1 to triumph in Melbourne when the new campaign begins next year.

Although he made progress in the ATP 250 events, success on the bigger stages eluded him until 2013 when he reached the final of the Canadian Open, only to be beaten comprehensively by Rafael Nadal in straight sets in front of his home crowd. Raonic finally delivered on his talent in 2014, progressing into the last eight of the French Open. He put up strong resistance against Djokovic before succumbing to a straight-sets defeat.

The Canadian went one better at Wimbledon, producing the best tennis of his career. The number eight seed eased through the opening three rounds before he was tested by Kei Nishikori. Despite falling one set behind, Raonic displayed resilience and the clinical edge needed to secure his place in the quarter-finals by winning the next three sets.

Faced with the challenge of the unpredictable Nick Kyrgios the Canadian held his composure once again after losing the opening set to rally and notch a place in the last four of a Grand Slam for the first time. However, he was taught a huge lesson by Roger Federer, whose experience and guile overwhelmed Raonic in a straight-sets victory for the Swiss.

Federer and Djokovic proved to be obstacles for the rest of 2014 as the 17-time Grand Slam champion and world number one prevented him from claiming titles in ATP 1000 events in the Cincinnati and Paris Masters respectively.

Milos Raonic AO 2016After making a strong push, expectations were high in 2015, and he made a bright start reaching the last eight of the Australian Open, impressively defeating Feliciano Lopez. Djokovic thwarted Raonic again by cruising into the semis with a straight-sets win, while an equally excellent run at Indian Wells was crushed by Federer, even after he had beaten Rafael Nadal in the quarter-finals of the competition.

His campaign in 2015 was disappointing as he failed to make an impact at Wimbledon or the US Open after missing the French Open through injury. He rebounded from a poor end to his previous year however, with an impressive run to the semi-finals of the Australian Open, claiming an excellent win over number three seed Stanislas Wawrinka.

Raonic avoided Federer and Djokovic, but was presented with a new foe in Murray. Although he produced his best tennis against the British number one, it was not enough to reach his first Grand Slam final as the Scot outlasted him a five-set thriller in Melbourne. The Canadian would later clash with Murray at Queens in a foreshadowing for their encounter at the All England Club.

The 25-year-old was on the brink of exiting Wimbledon in the fourth round after losing the opening two sets of his match against David Goffin. However, he rallied by raising his game at the critical moments of the contest to advance to the quarter-finals. His passage in the latter stages was made easier by the premature exit of Djokovic, creating a last-four showdown against Federer. Raonic finally ended his losing streak against the Swiss on the big stage by overwhelming him with his power to take the match in five sets.

Unfortunately for the Canadian he met an opponent at the top of his game in Murray as the Scot secured his second Wimbledon crown in straight sets. Raonic has made significant strides over the past year, and has proven that he can beat the top players in the world, but has not been able to string those excellent results together.

To get over the hump and record his first Grand Slam crown he will have to become consistent in major competitions and results like his loss to Harrison will only affect his confidence moving forward. He has more than enough ability, but 2017 will prove whether he has the mettle to win multiple Slams.

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