Fixture: (1) Marin Cilic vs Roberto Carballes Baena
Date: January 1, 2023
Tournament: Tata Open Maharashtra
Round: Second round (Round of 16)
Venue: Memorial Drive Tennis Centre, Adelaide, Australia
Category: ATP 250
Surface: Outdoor Hardcourt
Prize money: $642,735
Live telecast: USA - Tennis Channel | UK - Tennis TV | India - Sports 18 & Jio Cinema
Marin Cilic vs Roberto Carballes Baena preview
Marin Cilic will open his 2023 season with a second-round encounter against Spain's Roberto Carballes Baena at the Tata Open Maharashtra in Pune.
Cilic, the top seed at the tournament, was last seen in action in November when he suffered a surprise first-round exit at the Paris Masters, losing out to Italian youngster Lorenzo Musetti.
The 2014 US Open champion comes into the new year on a three-match losing streak, going back to the second round in Astana. He will be keen to put the disappointing end to an otherwise successful season behind him as he takes to the court in Pune.
Baena, meanwhile, comes into the encounter already having scored a win against countryman Bernabe Zapata Miralles — his first main draw victory on the ATP tour in many months.
The win would have come as a big boost for Carballes Baena, who spent a significant amount of time competing on the Challenger circuit last year in a bid to get his ranking back up. Playing a top opponent like Cilic this early in the year, however, could prove to be an entirely different proposition.
Marin Cilic vs Roberto Carballes Baena head-to-head
Cilic and Carballes Baena have never played each other on the Tour before, so their current head-to-head currently stands at 0-0.
Marin Cilic vs Roberto Carballes Baena odds
(Odds will be added once they're available)
Marin Cilic vs Roberto Carballes Baena prediction
Given the huge gulf in the world rankings and recent form, Cilic will enter the encounter as an overwhelming favorite to win. The Croat enjoys playing on hardcourts and has a powerful baseline-oriented game that is tailor-made for the surface. He will rely heavily on the serve and forehand to win him quick points.
For Carballes Baena, the key will be to rely on his ability to hang around in rallies long enough to frustrate his opponent. Staying too passive, however, is unlikely to get him over the line against an aggressive opponent like Cilic. Unless he can find a way to upset his opponent's rhythm by mixing the spin and length on his shot, the Spaniard risks being blown away by Cilic's firepower.
Prediction: Cilic to win in straight sets.