Denis Shapovalov vs Marin Cilic: Cincinnati Open Preview & Prediction
It is a clash between two powerful hitters as Denis Shapovalov takes on Marin Cilic in the Cincinnati Open tonight.
It has been a season to forget for the Canadian. With first-round exits in the Australian Open and the Montpellier Open, Shapovalov has not called the shots. Despite possessing an attacking game, inconsistency has let him down.
On the other hand, Cilic has had a mixed season. He reached the fourth round of the Australian Open before early exits in Dubai and Marseille.
The Croat did not let the lockdown hamper his match practice as he played three matches in the ill-fated Adria tour.
Strengths of Shapovalov
The youngster possesses one of the most effective first-serves on the tour. His backhand passing shots are consistent and can trouble players.
While his court coverage is unbeatable, the 21-year-old needs to work on his second-serve. Recklessness can crop up in his game owing to the significant number of unforced errors he commits.
Strengths of Cilic
With his towering height, Cilic's big serve can rattle opponents. His forehand has become one of his devastating weapons in recent times as he mixes a lot of topspin in it.
The Croat's backhand is vulnerable and is error-prone. Despite his advancing age, Cilic moves effectively on the court.
Head to Head record
The two players have met each other thrice on the tour with Shapovalov winning twice. The World number 16 had the last laugh when they last played in the Marseille Open this year.
Shapovalov smashed 17 aces and broke Cilic's serve three times to knock him out of the tournament.
Having won the Cincinnati Open in 2016, the World number 37 will have good knowledge of the conditions. It will just be a matter of time before he gets into full flow.
Shapovalov would be looking to resurrect his 2020 season. Cilic should motivate himself with the success he has achieved in the American hard-court season in the past and put his best foot forward.
Prediction - Marin Cilic to win in three sets
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