Following dreadful starts I their respective encounters on Monday, US Open champion Marin Cilic and Czech No. 1 Tomas Berdych will be looking to redeem themselves with better performances in their second matches in Group A. A loss here would almost surely mean the end of their run at the prestigious year-end championships – something neither man will be looking forward to. Berdych leads the head-to-head series 5-4 but they split their only two previous indoor meetings, which only adds to the overall selling point of the match. In their last encounter, the Croat overcame the Czech in the US Open quarter-finals in straight sets.
Follow the match live here: Tomas Berdych v Marin Cilic
Although he had pushed Djokovic in all three of their previous meetings this season, including a five set thriller at the Wimbledon Championships, Marin Cilic was unable to assert himself in his World Tour Final debut and simply crumbled against an aggressive Djokovic. While Cilic appeared promising in his opening service game, he was unable to win more than two games in the entire match, and didn’t even hold serve in the second set.
“I felt that Novak played really, really solid today,” said Cilic. “I felt a little bit uncomfortable on the court, rusty… I felt that I was not hitting it clean. That’s always difficult, especially against Novak, to get away with a win when you’re not playing so good.”
Another pair of breadsticks occurred in the Monday match-up between Tomas Berdych and Stan Wawrinka, as the Czech No. 1 was blown off court by his Swiss adversary with a 6-1, 6-1 end result. Berdych, who struck 20 unforced errors, admitted that it was quite possibly his worst match of the season. This is made particularly worse when you consider Wawrinka’s terrible 1-4 run throughout the Fall.
“Unfortunately, it was my worst match of the whole season and I kept it for the start here,” said Berdych. “Today, I didn’t really feel anything right. I can just keep fighting and try to play good tennis.”
This marks the tenth time that Cilic and Berdych will meet on the professional tour and will likely serve as one of their more pivotal encounters yet. Both were embarrassed in their WTF openers and will be looking to avenge themselves with sharper performances and a victory to keep their hopes alive.
Prediction: Marin Cilic in Three Sets