In an intriguing second round Barcelona Open encounter, reigning US Open champion Marin Cilic will step across the net from the oldest player to win a maiden ATP World Tour title in Victor Estrella Burgos for their first professional meeting on Wednesday afternoon.
Following an extended spell on the sidelines recovering from an injury, US Open champion Marin Cilic began his 2015 season this week in Indian Wells, where suffered a premature exit in his opening match in the desert but he was able to make up for it over the coming weeks with better showings in Monte Carlo.
After the world No. 9 lost to Juan Monaco in straight sets 6-4, 6-4 , he revealed that he was pleased with his performance, as he didn’t have high expectations for his first match back on tour. He even had some lingering pain in his shoulder, which is why he was unable to serve well.
“I wasn’t expecting that I’m going to be playing great tennis, which is always difficult in the first couple of matches,” he said. “Some players do feel great from the beginning, but I’m the kind of player that needs a few matches to get into it.”
He then surprised many when he was able to put on an impressive showing at the Monte Carlo Masters event to reach the quarter-final stage of the tournament. He defeated Florian Mayer and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga to secure his spot in the final eight alongside Novak Djokovic. While he was absolutely no match for the top ranked Serb, it was still a dramatically improved week than that at Indian Wells.
The Croat will next encounter Victor Estrella Burgos, who reached the second round in Barcelona with a straight sets victory over Dominic Thiem in their first round match. He defeated the Austraian 6-3, 7-6(3) in a match where he struck six aces, won 71% of his first service points and saved eight break points to finish in one hour and 20 minutes.
This marks the first time that Cilic and Burgos will cross paths on the ATP World Tour and could make for a more intriguing match-up than many fans and pundits could expect. The Dominican Republic native has already won his first title on the tour this season and will be motivated to secure a win against the reigning US Open champion.
Prediction: Marin Cilic in Straight Sets