Marin Cilic and John Isner will go head to head in the robin-round of ATP Finals 2018 in what is set to be a thrilling affair. With early losses in, this is a must-win match for the two players.
Cilic v Isner Head to Head
Cilic and Isner have quite a history between them. They have been meeting each other since 2011 and their upcoming encounter in London is set to be their 11th one. The Croat leads Isner 7-3 although; things have turned around significantly over the last couple of years.
From 2011 to 2016, the two players met each other six times and Cilic won on every single occasion. Thereafter, Isner got even with a couple of impressive victories on the big stage – the semifinal of the Paris Masters 2016 and the quarterfinal of the Rome Masters 2017.
Most recently, they met in the fourth round of Miami Masters earlier this year. Isner won that match 7-6(0), 6-3.
Cilic’s Recent Form
The Croat is coming into this match after a heartbreaking start to the ATP Finals 2018. He started his campaign against the German No. 1 Alexander Zverev, against whom he lost 7-6(5), 7-6(1) in a little over two hours.
It is fair to say that Cilic put up a great fight. However, in the nervy moments like tiebreaks, it was Zverev who kept his cool and got himself through. The first set was a close affair with both the players staying pretty much even throughout. In the tiebreak, Cilic lost his service four times to eventually succumb to the German.
A similar tale was seen in the second set as well. In the tiebreak, Zverev held on to his serve successfully while Cilic was broken on no less than three occasions. The end result saw him lose the match in straight sets. In the end, his unforced errors proved to be a costly mistake. The World No. 7 committed 46 unforced errors – 14 more than his opponent.
Considering his season so far, the Tata Open Maharashtra semifinalist has had a rather decent year. With a win-loss of 41-18, he won one singles title – ATP London. Apart from this, he was also the Australian Open runner-up and a quarterfinalist at the French Open. However, as for his form in the final leg of the season, it has certainly taken a tool.
He lost early in three tournaments – ATP Tokyo, Shanghai Masters, and ATP Basel to lowly-ranked players. He last played in the quarters of Paris Masters where he lost to Novak Djokovic.
Isner’s Remarkable Year
Isner, who is making his first appearance in the ATP Finals this year, might have started the tournament on a disappointing note. However, his year so far has been nothing short of impressive.
Isner reached his career-high singles ranking at the World No. 8 position after an excellent run in Wimbledon. He lost in the semifinal there to Kevin Anderson and followed that remarkable run by winning the ATP Atlanta next. Another feat that helped him break into the top 10 was winning the Miami Masters earlier this year.
At the same time, Isner has had not-so-impressive tournaments as well. For instance, he lost in the first round of Citi Open to Noah Rubin – a player ranked in the 100s. Similarly, he lost in the semifinal of ATP Stockholm to the World No. 93 Ernests Gulbis.
In London, he started his run against the World No. 1 Novak Djokovic. The Serbian dominated Isner with a straight set win in a little over an hour and 10 minutes. The final score read 6-4, 6-3 – a tale where the villain was Isner’s tendency to commit multiple errors. While the reigning US Open champion was absolutely clinical with just 6 unforced errors, Isner committed as many as 26!
On the positive side, the American had 13 aces – 7 more than his opponent and saved six break points out of nine.
Who will win the Isner v Cilic bout in the ATP Finals 2018?
It goes without saying that both the players have had a decent season so far. They are considerably experienced and coming in this match, eyeing a much-needed win. While Cilic dominates the head-to-head tally, Isner has got the ability to deliver shocking upsets. This is going to be a good game with Cilic set to start as the favorite.