Fixture: (6) Marin Cilic vs Kevin Anderson
Date: 30 April 2021
Tournament: Millennium Estoril Open 2021
Venue: Estoril, Portugal
Category: ATP 250
Surface: Red clay
Prize money: €419,470
Match timing: Not before 1 pm local time, 5.30 pm IST
Live telecast: USA - ESPN / Tennis Channel | UK - Amazon Prime Video
Marin Cilic vs Kevin Anderson preview
Sixth seed Marin Cilic will square off against familiar foe Kevin Anderson in the quarterfinals of the 2021 Millennium Estoril Open on Friday. Cilic won his second consecutive three-setter on Wednesday, beating home favorite Nuno Borges in the second round.
The former US Open champion suffered a mini-collapse initially, as he lost the opening set despite having built a 5-2, 0-40 lead. However, a couple of rain delays allowed Cilic to regroup and improve the consistency on his serve. The Croat didn't face a single break point in the second set, and in fact held serve for the rest of the match to come through 6-7(5), 6-4, 6-4.
Earlier in the week, Cilic had defeated talented youngster Carlos Alcaraz 6-3, 1-6, 6-4 to get his Estoril campaign off to a good start. The big-serving Croat has now pulled out of the upcoming Madrid Masters, and so will be keen to go all the way in Estoril.
Kevin Anderson, meanwhile, ousted Roberto Carballes Baena in his second-round match on Wednesday, winning 6-3, 7-6 (4). Anderson had a trickier first-round fixture against Frances Tiafoe, where he saved a match point in the second set before ultimately prevailing 4-6, 7-6 (6), 7-6 (4).
The former Wimbledon runner-up's biggest weapon - his serve - has been in fine working order this week. Anderson has racked up a whopping 32 aces in two matches so far, which is a seriously impressive number on clay.
Marin Cilic vs Kevin Anderson head-to-head
Marin Cilic and Kevin Anderson have faced each other seven times on tour, with the Croat leading the head-to-head 6-1.
Cilic also leads the claycourt head-to-head, by a margin of 2-1. The two veterans have had a long-running rivalry, but they've played each other just once in the last six years - at Roland Garros 2017.
Marin Cilic vs Kevin Anderson prediction
This is an intriguing matchup given the abilities and weaknesses of the two players on this surface. Marin Cilic and Kevin Anderson usually rely on their colossal serves and blistering groundstrokes to dominate their opponents, but that is never easy to do on slow clay.
While Anderson's first serve has been in a league of its own in Estoril, Cilic's overall game has been superior. The Croat's backhand in particular has been both accurate and penetrative, while his movement has been efficient too.
Anderson could possibly take Cilic the distance, but the former Grand Slam champion has enough weapons in his arsenal to progress to the semifinals.
Prediction: Marin Cilic to win in three sets.