Juan Martin del Potro vs Milos Raonic live streaming, preview and tips: Former finalists face off in the semifinals of the 2018 Indian Wells Masters

Hannah Wilks in ATP 17 Mar 2018
  • Juan Martin del Potro faces Milos Raonic in the semifinals of the Indian Wells Masters on Saturday
  • Del Potro vs Raonic Indian Wells Masters tennis is live from Indian Wells at around 12.30pm local/7.30pm GMT
  • Watch and bet on tennis live from Indian Wells at Unibet > sports > tennis
Juan Martin del Potro (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

Juan Martin del Potro faces off with Milos Raonic as two former runners-up try to make it back to the Indian Wells Masters final on Saturday.

Juan Martin del Potro vs Milos Raonic Indian Wells Masters tennis is live from Indian Wells on Saturday at 12.30pm local/7.30pm GMT. Watch and bet on tennis live from Indian Wells at Unibet > sports > tennis  

Two former Grand Slam finalists - men who have trod a long road to make it back to the semifinals of the BNP Paribas Open – clash for a place in the final on Saturday as Juan Martin del Potro takes on Milos Raonic, with the winner to face either Roger Federer or Borna Coric for the title.

In many ways it’s a dream final given the decimation that’s taken place in the draw, with no Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray, Stan Wawrinka or Kei Nishikori, and the likes of Novak Djokovic, Grigor Dimitrov and Alexander Zverev crashing out early: Two men who have been to the Indian Wells Masters final before (del Potro in 2013, losing to Nadal, and Raonic in 2016, losing to Djokovic), two men who have made Grand Slam finals – del Potro winning the US Open in 2009 and Milos Raonic finishing runner-up to Andy Murray at Wimbledon in 2016 – and two big men, in every sense of the word, both of whom have gone through some torrid times recently in a quest to make it back to exactly this sort of big, big match. 

It’s del Potro, of course, whose career has been most strikingly scarred by injury: The tendonitis in both wrists, first the right which kept him out of competition for almost all of 2010, then the left which required multiple surgeries and meant a virtual two-year absence from the sport, during which he considered quitting. Del Potro’s unlikely return to the top is the gift that never stops giving in terms of feel-good tennis storylines: Since returning with a ranking of world no. 1,042 in March 2016, he’s won Argentina’s first Davis Cup, two ATP World Tour titles, an Olympic silver medal and reached the US Open semifinals. More recently, he’s earned his way back into the top 10 with a runner-up finish in Auckland before going on to beat three top-10 players on his way to collecting the Abierto Mexicano Telcel title in Acapulco, his biggest since winning Basel in 2013. 

And now he’s back in the Indian Wells semifinals, and potentially two matches away from something his resume has always been missing – a Masters 1000 Series title. It must be admitted, too, that the draw has somewhat opened up for the big Argentine to reach this point – the highest-seeded opponent he has faced (or can face before the final is 29th seed David Ferrer. But that doesn’t mean it’s been easy. After beating Alex de Minaur and Ferrer in straight sets, del Potro had to come back from a set down against both compatriot Leonardo Mayer in the fourth round and then against German veteran Philipp Kohlschreiber in the quarterfinals.

Does that mean del Potro isn’t playing well? I’d say it’s potentially cause for concern. The Argentine failed to capitalize on early opportunities on Kohlschreiber’s serve and although it was an inspired forehand return winner that eventually broke his own serve and saw the German serve out the first set, there’s definitely an argument that more disciplined aggression, more clinical execution, from del Potro would have prevented him being in that position in the first place. 

‘He’s a very smart guy, his game is so good,’ del Potro said in his on-court interview. ‘He made me run a lot, so my legs are completely tired. But I got lucky at the end of the match, I played well at the important moments and I’m so happy to be in the semifinals.’

Fortunately for del Potro and his ‘completely tired’ legs, he shouldn’t have to run too much against his semifinal opponent. 

Indian Wells Masters 2018 live stream: ATP tennis live from Indian Wells

Milos Raonic’s injury problems of course pale in comparison to those which have affected del Potro’s career, but there’s no denying that the big Canadian never really seemed to be fully fit in 2017 – he was a quarterfinalist at the Australian Open and Wimbledon, but didn’t seem physically able to perform at his best, and he missed several events including Indian Wells and the US Open, playing just three events after Wimbledon before he shut his season down early. It wasn’t an easy transition for Raonic when he did come back to the tour, either; he went 1-3 in his first three events of 2018 coming into Indian Wells.

Milos Raonic  (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
Under the circumstances, it’s not surprising that Raonic looked woefully short on match practice in the early stages of his match against Sam Querrey in the quarterfinals. The 2016 Indian Wells Masters runner-up, down to world no. 40 in the rankings and seeded 42nd, had beaten fellow Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime in straight sets and Joao Sousa (conqueror of Alexander Zverev) in three but a walkover from Marcos Baghdatis in the round of 16 had clearly hurt his rhythm and he made a terrible, error-strewn start, double-faulting multiple times and making a bushel of unforced errors to drop serve in his very first service game. 

Raonic gathered himself fairly quickly but in a match against a server like Querrey, one break is all it takes to seal a set – usually. Querrey, who is having something of a late-career bloom after making semifinals at Wimbledon and the US Open in 2017 and who could have made first Masters 1000 Series semifinal as well as breaking into the top 10 with a win over Raonic today, blinked badly when it came to serving for the first set at 5-3 and Raonic ran off an impressive four straight games to take the first set, eventually sealing it with a clean return winner. But then Raonic showed his lack of match fitness once again by dropping serve in a poor game in the third game of the second set – and worse, double-faulted to go down a double break, 2-5, meaning that Querrey could relax when he served to level the match. 

The American duly did so and the decider went to serve until 3-4, when once again it was Raonic’s willingness to be aggressive on return that saw him break and gave him the chance to serve out the match. 

Raonic is now teamed up with Goran Ivanisevic, who has a history of helping big servers get the best out of their games – he played a big role in helping Marin Cilic to become a Grand Slam champion – and the Canadian certainly poses a significant (and intriguing) challenge to del Potro in the semifinals. The two have only met three times, and Raonic leads the head-to-head 2-1, having won their first encounter at the Canada Masters in 2013 and beaten del Potro in the semifinals of Delray Beach last February (although admittedly that was del Potro’s first tournament since the Davis Cup final and he was a little rusty). Del Potro is unquestionably the more solid player off the ground, and when he’s willing to drive his backhand – still not the shot it used to be – up the line it makes all the difference to his game, particularly as Raonic will love running round any sub-optimal slice from the Argentine to hit his preferred inside-out forehand. But del Potro has never been a particularly aggressive server despite his height and power, and that can hurt him in a match-up like this, as can Raonic’s willingness – very evident against Kohlschreiber – to attack the net. This is definitely a match that del Potro can and should win. It also feels very much like one he can lose – and will he ever have a better chance to make another Masters 1000 Series final than at this Indian Wells?

Del Potro vs Raonic Indian Wells Masters tennis is live from Indian Wells on Saturday at 12.30pm local/7.30pm GMT. Watch and bet on the match live at Unibet > sports > tennis > Juan Martin del Potro vs Milos Raonic

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Juan Martin del Potro vs Milos Raonic live streaming, preview and tips: Former finalists face off in the semifinals of the 2018 Indian Wells Masters

Juan Martin del Potro vs Milos Raonic live streaming, preview and tips for the Indian Wells Masters semifinal match on Saturday 16 March 2018: 2013 runner-up del Potro must overturn a losing head-to-head against 2016 runner-up Raonic to make it back to the Indian Wells final. We preview the match and show you how you can watch the match live and bet in-play.

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