It is funny how a surface can significantly and suddenly change a player’s fortunes in tennis. Before the grass season commenced in Stuttgart, Marin Cilic was having a torrid time on the tour. Not only did he struggle on clay–which is not his stronghold anyways–but he also failed to have any impact during the hard court season that preceded the clay season.
However, barely a week and a half into the grass season, and the 32-year-old Croat finds himself unbeatable. Before arriving at the ATP Queen’s Club Championships in London, Cilic did not drop a set this past week and was crowned as the Stuttgart Open champion to begin his grass season in the best possible way.
ATP Queen’s Club Championships Quarterfinal Preview
After defeating another fellow veteran, Fabio Fognini, in his Round of 16 match, the 2014 US Open champion now finds himself in the quarterfinal as he aims to bag his third Queen’s Club title. Cilic won this event in 2012 and in 2018 and was a runner-up in 2013 and 2017.
The 6’6″ Croat fired 17 aces in his comprehensive 6-3 7-6(4) victory over the Italian. He will now meet the young Australian Alex De Minaur in the quarterfinal on Friday. De Minaur also defeated a countryman, John Millman, without any trouble as he completed a 6-1 6-3 win in just over an hour.
Marin Cilic vs Alex De Minaur
Cilic and De Minaur have just met once on Tour, and the former won the hard way. After being down two sets to love, Cilic showed tremendous resilience to win the next three to complete a sensational 4-6 3-6 6-3 6-4 7-5 win in their Round of 32 encounter at the 2018 US Open.
Cilic’s massive serving has been an integral part of his game. He needs that to click from the get go if he wishes to put De Minuar under pressure. The 32-yea- old Croat seems to be on a roll. Not only his service, but also his baseline and net games appeared flawless in his encounter against Fognini. He is on a seven-match winning streak and the man to beat at the Queen’s Club Championships.
Unlike Fognini, 4th-seeded De Minaur would pose a much greater threat to the Croat with his resilience and his consistent baseline game, making Cilic hit one extra ball. For De Minaur, who does not have a huge serve like his opponent, it is important to find a way to hold his serve comfortably in a bid to put pressure on Cilic’s serve.
In his clash against Fognini, it was evident that even half a chance was enough for Cilic. Against the Australian, Cilic would not need a second invitation to pounce on short balls in the rally to turn the tide in his favor.
Cilic has found his rhythm back and typically doed well at the Queen’s Club Championships. The Croat should start as a favorite against De Minaur.
Cilic at the Queen’s Club Championships
With Wimbledon around the corner, the Queen’s Club Championships add more relevance for someone like Cilic, who relishes playing on grass. A Grand Slam champion and a former Top 5 player, Cilic fancies turning his season around. A title at London–second in as many weeks–would massively raise his hopes and boost his chances of going deep at the upcoming Wimbledon Championships.
On current form, even though Cilic appears to be far better placed than his opponent, the young Australian can really test the experienced Cilic with the depth of his groundstrokes. A fascinating contest awaits us on Centre Court at the Queen’s Club Championships. Cilic, hungry as ever, aims to establish his ascendance this grass season.
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