Looking to a strike first in the race for qualification from Group Gustavo Kuerten, Alexander Zverev and Marin Cilic face off on Monday afternoon. It will be an all important win for one player with Novak Djokovic expected to cruise through the group unbeaten. Check out the Zverev vs Cilic H2H.
Cilic has won just won one match (of 9) at the O2 despite his usual success on fast courts and will be disappointed at his previous outings at this event, far less productive than his other time in London. He comes into this tournament fairly fresh but will also having the distraction of looking forward to a Davis Cup final following the event. Cilic had been the one to finally take a set from Novak Djokovic after a lengthy set streak by the World No.1 but would lose a tight three setter to depart at the quarter final stage.
Zverev’s success on tour has been almost primarily in the three set format, with his grand slam struggles becoming something of a running joke while he plays at such a high level outside side of the big four events. He acquitted himself well at London last year despite not advancing to the semi finals and will be disappointed having lost as the heavy favourite in the deciding final match with Jack Sock. He hopes his partnership with Ivan Lendl will be the missing piece to push him over the edge although that may take some time for results to take shape.
Cilic puts his previous struggles here down to overplaying. “Last year when I came to London, I felt just a little bit drained. Even though I played well at the end of the year, I had a lot of matches and it just took a little bit of extra energy out of me. Mentally, as well, it was difficult to sustain that over and over again.” he said. It may ensure he does’t flame out but it will still be a tough time against an opponent he holds a 1-5 record against, relatively early into their career.
Prediction – Alexander Zverev in three sets