Rob Soria is the Edmonton Oilers' correspondent for OurHometown.ca. Rob was born and raised in Edmonton and is the author of the Edmonton Oilers blog - OilDrop.ca. He has been a dedicated follower of the game and its history for years but his focus remains on his hometown Edmonton Oilers. If you have questions or wish to contact Rob, you can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
2012 US Open - Now's the time for Raonic to make his mark
By Rob Soria
After a less than impressive performance in his opening round match at the 2012 US Open, Canada's Milos Raonic has reeled off back-to-back solid outings, pushing him into uncharted territory. The next challenge comes tonight, in the form of Olympic Gold medalist Andy Murray.
Edmonton - September 3, 2012 - After a less than impressive performance in his debut at the 2012 US Open, Milos Raonic has reeled off back-to-back solid outings, pushing him into the second week of play at this year's final Grand Slam Championship. It was another nice stepping stone for the youngster but the real challenge and opportunity, comes tonight, as he takes on Olympic Gold medalist Andy Murray in fourth round action.
While Raonic looked downright awful in his first round match against Santiago Giraldo, he managed to survive, prevailing in five sets. He followed that up with a pair of dominant performances, easily dismissing both Paul-Henri Mathieu and James Blake in straight sets. While some are looking at those three victories as some sort of great accomplishment for the Canadian, in reality, they were matches he would have had no business losing.
The time for small victories are long gone when it comes to Milos. He came into this year's Open as the 15th seed, meaning he should have found his way into the second week of play. Kudos to him for fighting through a poor start to the tournament and relocating his service game but today is when the true test begins.
In facing Andy Murray, Raonic will not only be facing the man who recently removed the "can't win the big one" tag off his resume, by dominating Roger Federer at London 2012, but also a player who has never seemed as confident in his own abilities, as he does at this very moment. Definitely a step up in competition for the big serving Canadian and one that was frankly needed.
Praising the young man for victories against opponents he should be beat, do him no good. Milos now needs to prove he can hang with the big boys. While he has already defeated Murray in the quarter-finals of the 2012 Barcelona Open, pushing the number four ranked player in the world at a Grand Slam event is a completely different beast.
Raonic has the game to cause Murray problems but we have yet to see him put it all together in a major. Typically, he falls to someone during the opening week of play and doesn't get the opportunity to see how he might fair against the best players in the world. Tonight he will get that chance.
This one should be the Match of the Day. The two will square off under the lights at Arthur Ashe Stadium, as the feature match in the evening draw. It has the potential of turning into one of those "big moments", in the career of the 21 year old but he needs to step up his play and show he has it in him.
It's not about winning the match but rather showing he belongs on the same court as the best of the best. To be fair, the chances of him actually pulling off the upset and taking Andy Murray in a best of five, at the US Open, seem highly unlikely. That being said, there is no good reason why Raonic can't give him a run for his money. In the end, it will be up to Milos to go out and do it on the court...something he is more than capable of doing.
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