2019 Madrid Masters Quarter Finals: Novak Djokovic vs Marin Cilic, Preview and Prediction
The two have met each other nineteen times, of which the Croat has got the better of the Serbian only twice. Importantly, they have met on clay only twice, thanks primarily to clay being Marin’s least favourite surface. Predictably, Djokovic has won both those encounters.
Last year, they faced each other four times. Cilic won their first encounter on the grass courts of Queen’s club, London, in an epic final. Ironically, that was the tournament that saw the re-emergence of Novak Djokovic who had been going through a horrid time before that. After that event, they met three more times, all on hard court, and a dominant Djokovic eased past Cilic in all of those matches.
This quarter final match at Madrid will be their first encounter this year. Ordinarily, Djokovic should be considered an overwhelming favourite, in lieu of both his head to head record and the nature of the surface. However, the Serbian has had a curious dip in form after winning a third straight Grand Slam early this year. He has failed to win a single title since, and has failed at early stages in shock defeats.
Cilic can certainly upset Djokovic if the latter does not bring his A game to this match. But for that to happen, Cilic himself should raise his game a bit as well. All his three matches so far have been tight three setters, against Martin Clizan, Jan-Lennard Struff and Laslo Dere. Against the last two, he went on to win the matches after losing the first set.
He cannot afford to have such a slow start against Djokovic. He will especially have to improve his serve, especially the second serve which was at a lowly 56 percent against Dere, which resulted in him being broken twice in the match.
On the other hand, Djokovic seems to be close to his best thus far. Both his matches, against Taylor Fritz and Jeremy Chardy, have been straight forward straight set wins. He is yet to lose his serve so far.
Unless Djokovic has an off day, which has happened a bit too frequently lately, he should not face much difficulty in disposing off Cilic.
Prediction: Djokovic to win in Straight SetsPublished 10 May 2019, 07:27 IST