After both suffered straight sets losses on Monday, Stan Wawrinka and Marin Cilic will need to show major improvements on Wednesday night to avoid defeat if they are to ensure they still have qualification chances heading into the final group matches.
Cilic never really managed to get into his match with Andy Murray, losing 6-3 6-2 in routine fashion. Down 0-2 in the first set, Cilic would get his sole break of the match but it wouldn’t count for much given his failure to consolidate that break. On what he needs to do in this match Cilic said “Obviously to get into the rhythm on the serve. I think I was not hitting the spots so well today.”
It is fair to say though that superb returning from Murray had some impact on Cilic’s failure to establish much of a rhythm. If Monday is anything to go by, Wawrinka won’t offer anywhere near the resistance if Cilic has an above average serving day.
The Swiss couldn’t even earn a single break point against an opponent serving 47% on first serve, a major factor in the routine nature of Nishikori’s 6-2 6-3 victory over him. In what could explain his disappointing end to season indoors, Wawrinka admitted recently of knee troubles but didn’t think it affected his ability to get a result on Monday. “I felt better last two days on the court. I thought I could have played better today, but I didn’t find any solution to play better tennis today.”
Wawrinka has dominated this matchup in his career, going 7-2 overall against the Croatian including 5 straight in the past 3 years where it is clear that he had taken his game to the next level. While it feels like Wawrinka should be expected to be victorious here, it could be a quick match if Cilic comes out the blocks fast like Nishikori. The court is playing slightly faster than previous years which should give a slight edge to Cilic.
Prediction – Marin Cilic in three sers