Marin Cilic and Alexander Zverev set for blockbuster London clash
In a blockbuster clash, future Grand Slam champion Alexander Zverev will square-off against former US Open champion Marin Cilic in the opening match of the night session at the ATP World Tour Finals in London on Sunday. Will Zverev extend his winning record against the Croat or will it be the turn of Cilic, who will come out triumphant in this battle of hard hitters?
Rising German star Zverev has been tipped to become World No. 1 and a multiple Grand Slam champion by current and former players including Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. And, why not the 20-year-old has had a breakthrough season that has seen him climb to as high as No. 3 in the rankings and win five titles including the Rome and Montreal Masters trophies.
However, Sascha Zverev’s recent form has been lackluster to say the least. After capturing the title in Montreal, Alexander has virtually gone into a shell with a string of shock losses against players who don’t stand anywhere close to him as far as sheer raw talent is concerned.
A second round exit from the US Open was followed by another early loss at the Shenzhen Open and thereafter everything he did simply added to his woes. Zverev was beaten by Juan Martin Del Potro in the round of 16 in Shanghai, suffered a quarter-final defeat at the hands of Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in Vienna and then went out in his opening match at the Paris Masters.
Like Zverev, Cilic too has had a fairly successful year – reaching his first Wimbledon final where he lost to a rampant Federer in straight sets. Cilic broke down in tears during his encounter with the Swiss great as his movement was hampered by a foot injury and he was unable to give his 100% in what was the biggest match of his life.
After Wimbledon, Cilic took some time off and made his return to action at the US Open where lack of match practice resulted in his third round defeat at the hands of Diego Schwartzman. After that disappointing exit in New York, the big Croatian has made a deep run in almost every tournament he has participated in. By getting through to the semis in Tokyo, Shanghai, Basel and the quarters in Paris, he has successfully gathered an impressive 11-4 win/loss record since his big failure at Flushing Meadows.
Head-to-Head: Zverev and Cilic have met four times in the past with the German coming out on top on three occasions. Cilic’s only victory over Zverev came two years ago on the hard courts of Washington and since then he has struggled big time to tame the all powerful, all-round game of the World No. 3. However, this match could be his best chance to break that jinx as Zverev’s game is in tatters at the moment and he is unlikely to have confidence behind everything he does on a tennis court.