Milos Raonic has definitely upped his game in 2012, and the Canadian has recently shown that he is not going to be an easy out on clay. After a lackluster 2011 clay-court season, Raonic has already made the ATP Barcelona semifinals and he gave Roger Federer all he could handle at the Madrid Masters, before ultimately falling.
Currently ranked 23rd in the world, the future looks very bright for Raonic and a major ranking rise seems as though it could be in order soon. That is especially the case given that Raonic barely has any ranking points to defend in the upcoming months.
For example, last season at ATP Rome, Raonic went out in the very first round of the event. At Roland Garros, the Canadian did not fare any better, as he fell in the opening round of that tournament as well.
At Wimbledon, Raonic did win a match but he still fell in the tournament's second round. This year there is good reason to believe that the current World No. 23 might advance to the Round of 16 or better in all of those events. If he did that he would turn a significant ranking point gain that should see him crack the Top 20.
In the longer term, Raonic has nothing to defend at the Canadian Masters, the Cincinnati Masters or the US Open. Any points he earns at those events will be, if you'll pardon the pun, a pure "net" gain.
Making the 2012 ATP World Tour Finals is by no means out of the question for the Canadian. He's definitely not a lock for the event and injuries have played a role in his career already. He will need some more big wins against players in the Top 10 in order to secure a place in the World Tour Finals.
However, I think Raonic will jump over the following players in the rankings before the start of the 2012 US Open:
- Marin Cilic
- Stanislas Wawrinka
- Alexandr Dolgopolov
- Fernando Verdasco
- Richard Gasquet
- Kei Nishikori
- Feliciano Lopez
- Juan Monaco
- Mardy Fish
The Canadian appears to be hitting top form right now and with so many important tournaments coming up in the next few months, his bid to make the prestigious year end event is a legitimate one.