On Friday night at the Australian Open, No. 2-seed Andy Murray will take on No. 13-seed Milos Raonic for a spot in the final. Their head-to-head is tied at three matches each, with Murray having won the last two. This is a matchup of strength versus strength—Raonic's serve facing Murray's return. Murray has been especially strong returning 2nd serves and this could be a crucial part of the match. Raonic has one of the best 2nd serves in tennis—in Melbourne his average 2nd serve speed is 109 mph, and he's won 59% of 2nd serve points—while Murray is tied as the best in the tournament with Djokovic, winning 63% returning 2nd serves. Raonic's forehand is his big weapon from the ground with 78 forehand winners while Murray has reat balance from the baseline with 52 forehand winners and 48 backhand winners.
Once the ball is in play, Murray should have the advantage. He's won 52% of his baseline points while Raonic has won only 44% when he's finished points in the backcourt. Finished is the key word here. Raonic has been able to get into net from the baseline and has been effective when he does. He has approached the net 248 times in his five matches—2.5 times more than the number of approaches that Murray has tried. Raonic has won 69% of his approach points so he'll be looking for every opportunity to get in and put pressure on Murray. That could be a challenge as Murray is one of the best at defending against attackers. The tournament average for net points won is 67% for all men in the draw and Murray's opponents won just 54% of their net approaches against the Scot. Raonic will need to attack, but he better be coming in behind some really good approach shots.
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