A battle between two towering 6’6″ athletes takes place in the second round of the BNP Paribas Masters in Paris as Juan Martin Del Potro (Profile) and Marin Cilic (Profile) collide for a tenth time on the professional tour. Cilic is competing in his first tournament since withdrawing from the Wimbledon Championships, while Del Potro is coming off a sensational title defense in Basel. Check out the Del Potro v Cilic Head to Head.
The Argentine successfully defended his Swiss indoor open title, defeating 17-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer in three sets. It was a tough contest, particularly in the second round but Del Potro broke Federer early in the third set and held the lead to close out the match. The “Tower of Tandil” has had a fantastic year on the ATP tour, having won three titles in 2013 and returning to the top 5 in the rankings for the first time since his injury in 2009. He also picked up an impressive win over World No. 1 Rafael Nadal in the semi-finals in Shanghai, breaking the undefeated hard court streak the Spaniard possessed this season. Now with a 46-13 record, Del Potro is looking to close out his season in dominant fashion with strong showing in the ATP World Tour Finals.
Marin Cilic has been a prominent name in tennis headlines, even though he had not participated in a match for nearly five months. He had tested positive for performance enhancing drugs at the Madrid Open earlier this year, yet had his suspension shortened by the Court of Arbitration for Sport. This allowed him to return to active tennis competition in time for the Paris Masters, where he won his opening contest against Dutch qualifier Igor Sijsling. Cilic lost a close opening set but recovered and dominated the remainder of the match to finish with a 5-7, 6-1, 6-4 scoreline.
The Croatian had dropped to No. 47 in the rankings but was boosted back into the top 20 when his ranking points from events including the French Open, Wimbledon and Queen’s Club, where he reached the finals, were returned to him.
These two competitors met on nine previous occasions, with the Argentine leading the head-to-head series with a 7-2 advantage. Cilic’s last win over Del Potro came at the 2011 Rogers Cup and the one prior to that at the 2010 Australian Open. Since his last win, Del Potro has toppled him 4 times in 2012 and the Croat only took a set in one of those four meetings, which highlights Del Potro’s dominance in the series. Considering Cilic’s time away from the tour this season and Del Potro’s momentum coming off the Basel Open title win, it is likely this match-up will favour the Argentine.