After a week of entertaining tennis in Russia’s second city, just two men are left standing at the ATP St Petersburg Open. As ever, we here at LWOT are offering our prediction for the final, but will it be Marin Cilic or Taylor Fritz who comes out on top?
ATP St Petersburg Final Prediction
Marin Cilic vs Taylor Fritz
Head-to-head: Fritz 1-0 Cilic
Both Marin Cilic and Taylor Fritz come into this final in very good form. The American arrived at the ATP St Petersburg Open fresh from reaching the finals on home turf in Indian Wells and he has maintained the high level he played at in the Californian desert. Fritz opened his campaign against the potentially dangerous Finnish young gun Emil Ruusuvuori and he made light work of him, winning 6-1 6-4 to reach the second round. There he battled past his countryman Tommy Paul 6-4 7-6.
That set up a quarterfinal clash with John Millman which he won at a canter, 6-2 6-4, to reach his second consecutive semifinal. Waiting for him there was Jan-Lennard Struff, who had upset Denis Shapovalov in the last eight. The German got off to a good start, but Fritz rallied from a set down to win 5-7 6-1 6-3. Marin Cilic, meanwhile, reached the final in Moscow last time out and he has looked equally at home in St Petersburg.
The former-world #3 started his week with a comprehensive 6-2 6-3 win over Albert Ramos Vinolas and he backed that up by beating sixth seed Karen Khachanov in the second round in a three-set thriller. Cilic then edged out Roberto Bautista Agut, again in three sets, to reach the semifinals. There, he proved far too strong for recent US Open quarterfinalist Botic van de Zandschulp, dropping just four games in a comfortable straight-sets win.
One suspects he will not be so comfortable up against Fritz. Fritz, the fifth seed this week, has always been solid off the ground, but over the last 18 months he has added some extra-power to his groundstrokes and the effect has been transformative. Cilic has power of his own and, when he is on song, a superb serve. But he is not the force he once was and, right now, Fritz is the better player of the two. Expect the American to come away victorious.
Prediction: Fritz in 3
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