One of the more compelling third round matches taking place at the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati is the Wednesday clash between world No. 4 Stan Wawrinka and Croatia’s Marin Cilic. This will mark the ninth time these two competitors will cross paths on the tour, with the Wawrinka – Cilic H2H poised at 6-2.
The Swiss No. 2 rebounded from a third round exit in Toronto by earning a commanding victory in his opening match in Cincinnati. He defeated German qualifier Benjamin Becker 6-3, 7-6(5) to secure entry into the third round of the tournament. The win also marked his 30th victory on the ATP World Tour this year.
Cilic is coming off a good week in Toronto, where he managed to take Federer to three competitive sets before losing in a final set tiebreak. On Tuesday afternoon, he stopped Spain’s Fernando Verdasco from picking up his 400th win on the tour when he defeated him with a pair of tiebreakers to close out the match in exactly 2 hours. Cilic won 82% of his first service points and saved all four of the break points he faced as well.
According to stats from the ATPWorldTour.com, Verdasco was trying to become the 12th active player to reach 400 wins, and the first since Russia’s Mikhail Youzhny at the start of the 2013 season.
Wawrinka and Cilic have crossed paths on eight previous occasion with the Swiss No. 2 leading the series 6-2. Considering Cilic’s inspired performances as of late, this could certainly be a match worth placing on upset alert. Wawrinka will need to be on guard and play some of his best tennis to secure a spot in the quarter-final round.
Prediction: Marin Cilic in Three Sets