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Milos Raonic v Marcos Baghdatis ATP Washington live stream: Raonic to book Citi Open quarter-final berth

Brendan O'Neill in Tennis 3 Aug 2017

Milos Raonic and Marcos Baghdatis will square off for the first time since 2012 when they battle for a spot in the Citi Open quarter-finals in Washington D.C. on Thursday.

Watch and bet on tennis live at bet365 > sports > live streaming tennis. Raonic vs Baghdatis third round clash begins at 4.00pm local time on Thursday (9.00pm BST).

Third seed and 2014 Citi Open champion Milos Raonic seeks a return to the quarter-finals in Washington D.C. on Thursday when he takes on Cypriot veteran Marcos Baghdatis. Taking a wildcard into the ATP 500 tournament as he searches for confidence and wins following a disappointing 2017 season to date, Raonic is targeting a first title in 20 months in the American capital this week. After accounting for one veteran in his opener, Raonic now faces another man well into the twilight of his career in Baghdatis, who won back-to-back matches on hardcourt for the first time since Auckland in January to make the third round. Raonic and Baghdatis take to court at 4.00pm local time on Thursday (9.00pm BST).

Determined to make up for lost time this season in Washington, Raonic got his title quest off to a winning start on Wednesday - although it wasn’t the most polished of performances, it must be said. Raonic was lethal behind his serve, firing 26 aces, but his baseline game wasn’t at its strongest, and as such he struggled to make much headway on Mahut’s serve. In the end the Canadian scraped through in two tiebreaks, including saving two set points in the second to register a 7-6(2) 7-6(6) victory in a shade under two hours.

Despite some rusty patches, Raonic wasn’t too concerned with his form after securing his spot in the third round.

“There are a lot of things I need to be happy with,” said Raonic. “I lost a bit of sharpness and discipline in the second set, but I’m glad I was able to get through and keep going in this tournament. It’s good to be back, especially with that memory of having won here [in 2014].”

Raonic’s Washington title victory in 2014 - beating Vasek Pospisil in the first all-Canadian final on tour - was around the time he started to take his game to the next level. Just a month earlier Raonic made his first grand slam semi-final at Wimbledon, while he soared to new heights in 2016, making his first major final at the All England Club and also advancing to a second semi at the Australian Open.

However Raonic hasn’t been able to play his best tennis at all throughout 2017. Injuries have played a big part, but I think it’s safe to say his level has dipped as well, with Raonic still without a title since Brisbane in January 2016. After finishing last year at a career-high No. 3 in the world, Raonic is now clinging onto a top inside the top 10, with his only win in 2017 over a player in that bracket coming against Rafael Nadal in Brisbane. Can Raonic generate some momentum in the American capital this week, or is he destined for another disappointing exit?

Marcos Baghdatis is the man who will attempt to stop Raonic in his tracks on Thursday. An Australian Open finalist and former top 10 player all the way back in 2006, Baghdatis’s best tennis is certainly behind him, with the Cypriot becoming something of a standard 50-100 type player over the last few years, while his only top 10 victories since 2012 have been against Juan Monaco, Richard Gasquet, David Ferrer and Tomas Berdych - compared to 17 in the seven seasons beforehand.

Nevertheless, Baghdatis remains a very talented ball-striker, and if he’s in the zone he can still make life difficult for a lot of players on tour. After beginning his US Open Series with a first round loss in Atlanta to Kyle Edmund, Baghdatis got his Washington campaign off to a flying start with a straight sets win over Israeli qualifier Edan Leshem, while he registered a very impressive win in the second round to defeat Atlanta runner-up Ryan Harrison 6-4 6-1.

The win over Harrison was the first time Baghdatis had won consecutive matches on hardcourt since reaching the Auckland semi-finals at the start of the season, although his first quarter of the year was derailed soon afterwards due to an ankle injury that forced him onto the sidelines for a couple of months. Baghdatis didn’t win a match on clay upon his return, but he did make the semi-finals on the grass of Antalya, meaning the 32-year-old has some recent wins under his belt coming into this contest.

Raonic and Baghdatis haven’t played since 2012, with the Canadian winning their first two matches in Stockholm and Cincinnati and the Cypriot claiming a win at the Shanghai Masters in their last clash. I thought Raonic would have an easier time of things against Mahut, but he only managed to scrape through, so he has to be on guard for this encounter. However Baghdatis doesn’t have a big serve like Mahut did, so Raonic should have more chances to break. If he can take care of his own serve (another 26 aces would be welcome), then Raonic should prevail.

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