Young Has No Answers For Raonic

By Jane Voigt (August 2, 2014)

Washington D.C. — If fans could have voted the winner into the final at Citi Open today, Donald Young would have won overwhelmingly.

“Go Big D. Go”

“Go D!!”

“Come on Donald.”

Cheers went up when his opponent Milos Raonic double faulted, too, a no-no in most tennis circles. 

But Raonic’s dominant serve and aggressive serve-and-volley tactic left Young with no answers, no matter how well the lefty American held serve at times and no matter the enormous support from fans. 

“I have a lot of belief in my serve,” Raonic said, after defeating Steve Johnson yesterday. “I know how much and how well I can take care of my serve against anybody, so I believe that gives me an edge mentally, as well, and just puts more pressure on my opponent.”

Raonic vs. Johnson-CitiOpen-20140801-PS-0304

Milos Raonic, the number two seed here at Citi Open, closed one game today in his defeat of American Donald Young with a serve clocked at
143 M.P.H. Photo credit Pablo Sanfrancisco

Although Young held to love on many of his service games, he could not read Raonic’s serve. 

“It was the first time playing him,” Young began. “I had some chances and opportunities. With a serve like that they’re only going to be small windows. You have to be there and take advantage. I wasn’t able to do that today.”

Raonic served 15 aces over his 64 75 victory, one clocked at 143 M.P.H. He won 91% of points off those first serves, and faced zero break points over the two sets.

“I wasn’t able to get a read on any tendencies or where he wanted to go. He mixed it up quite a bit and tossed to the same spot,” Young said. 

Raonic vs. Johnson-CitiOpen-20140801-PS-0317

An assured fist pump from Milos Raonic, after defeating Donald Young today at Citi Open.
Photo credit Pablo Sanfrancisco 

Raonic will face countryman Vasek Pospisil or Frenchman Richard Gasquet (No. 6) tomorrow in his first final of the year. 

At 23 Raonic is quite matter of fact on court and with the press. He portrays a confident and determined young man willing to take risks and learn from mistakes. This has been his best year on tour since turning pro in 2008. He’s made the quarterfinals or better at four ATP Masters 1000 tournaments, plus a semifinal at Wimbledon. 

“I have a much better understanding of what I want to bring out in myself, especially early in tournaments, so I can do consistently well at each tournament and give myself the opportunity to get into those weekend stages of each of those events,” he said. 

Raonic served and volleyed on a number of points for strategic reasons. After watching tapes of Young’s match against Kevin Anderson, Raonic did not want Young to block serves back as he had done with the South African Anderson. “I wanted to put it in his mind that I wanted to take that option away from him,” Milos said. 

Much of Raonic’s confidence has stemmed from more consistent results. By penetrating draws he has given himself chances to prove more to himself and fans, and face top guys who have taken him out of events: Rafael Nadal in Miami; Stan Wawrinka in Monte Carlo; Novak Djokovic in Rome; and Roger Federer at Wimbledon. 

Being in the top 10 also allows Raonic more time off between bigger tournaments, which are scheduled this next week in Toronto and then Cincinnati. He won't have to play as early in these tournaments because of seeding berths, and first-round byes. 

Although Raonic didn’t know much about Donald Young’s game before their match today, the Canadian did know Young’s reputation. 

“Donald was a guy you sort of looked up to,” Raonic said. “Everybody was labeling him the next big thing, the next number one. I continue to follow him closely. He’s making another stir this time around and continues to be really talented and very dangerous.”

And although Young will move inside the top 50 Monday, Raonic has surpassed him on all tennis fronts. It hasn’t been missed by Young that those he met in juniors now out shine him. 

“When your peers and guys that you played in juniors have gone on to win slams and play well and get top 10 you start to think about it,” Young said. “But I have to focus on myself. If I keep worrying about them I’m not going to go anywhere."

Young will be in Toronto next week as a Special Entry (‘SE’ on draw sheets). He would never have been at Rogers Cup had he not performed well here in the nation’s capital. 

© Jane Voigt Tennis 2013