Marin Cilic returned to his winning ways on the ATP World Tour with a first round victory at the China Open to set up a match-up against Portugal’s Joao Sousa. This marks the second time these two competitors will meet on the professional tour, with Cilic leading the series 1-0.
Watch the match here: Cilic vs Sousa
Marin Cilic extended his winning streak to nine consecutive matches when he defeated Chinese wild card Yan Bai 6-3, 6-4 to advance to the second round in Beijing. The reigning US Open champion won 76% of his first serve points and saved all four of the break point he faced to close out the meeting in 1 hour and 21 minutes.
“It’s important for me to keep focusing on the improvement of my game and try to recreate the game I was playing at the US Open,” said Cilic. “It’s going to be a process for me at all the tournaments to keep my level at the high point where I want it to be.”
Cilic, who is hoping to reach the ATP World Tour Finals for the first time in his professional career, will next face Portuguese No. 1 Joao Sousa, who rallied from a set down to defeat qualifier Teymuraz Gabashvili 1-6, 7-6(4), 6-4 in two hours and 3 minutes.
Cilic and Sousa met for the first time during the clay portion of the season in Madrid – a meeting that the Croat won handily. Considering Cilic is more accomplished on hard courts, it is likely that he will earn another straight sets victory en route to the quarter-final round in Beijing.
Prediction: Marin Cilic in Straight Sets