Two days removed from his title win in Houston, Spain’s Fernando Verdasco is set to meet Marin Cilic for a ninth time on the professional tour in the opening round of the Monte Carlo Masters. The head-to-head series is tied at 4-4 between the two top 30 competitors.
World No. 26 Marin Cilic has been a resurgent force in 2014, as he lifted titles in Zagreb and Delray Beach before the end of the first two months of the season. He would follow up by reaching the fourth round at Indian Wells, but would lose in the second round of the Sony Open. He will be looking for a better performance this week in Monte Carlo, where he holds a 7-6 record and has never been past the third round. While Cilic is 22-6 so far this season, his Tuesday meeting with Verdasco will be his first clay court match of the season.
World No. 29 Fernando Verdasco snapped a six-match losing streak in finals to earn his first ATP World Tour title since 2010. The Spaniard will have a quick turnaround, as he leaves Houston on Sunday and will need to be ready for his opening round match on Tuesday afternoon in Monte Carlo, Monaco. To add to his troubles, Verdasco also played a doubles final against the Bryan Brothers, which they lost in a deciding set. While he was on clay in Houston, he will likely have a tough transition to Europe in one day, which will make his match-up against the towering Cilic even harder. He is currently 4-0 on clay in 2014.
This marks the ninth time these two competitors will meet on the ATP World Tour, with the series tied at 4-4. This is also the first time they will meet on clay, which will add to the intrigue of the match-up. Cilic has won their last two consecutive matches, yet they have not crossed paths on the tour since 2012. The surface should favour Verdasco, yet it is unlikely that he will be rested enough to survive a three set battle against Cilic.
Prediction: Marin Cilic in Three Sets