World No. 1 Novak Djokovic will hope to continue his winning run in London against the World No. 7 Marin Cilic, as the two players will meet in their final robin-round match in London.
The Novak Djokovic v Marin Cilic 2018 ATP Finals robin-round match will be played on Friday, November 16, at 8:00 pm local time (7:00 pm GMT). Watch the Novak Djokovic v Marin Cilic live streaming here.
Djokovic v Cilic Head to Head
Being two of the most experienced players on the ATP circuit, Djokovic and Cilic have got quite a history behind them. The duo has played against each other no less than 18 times of which, 16 matches have been won by the Serbian.
This season, the two players have met thrice already and Djokovic has won on two of those instances. They first met in the final of ATP London where surprisingly, it was Cilic who won in straight sets to win the tournament. That win was also his second win over the Serb.
The other two instances came in the Cincinnati Masters and Paris Masters where Djokovic won in three sets. His only other loss against the Croat came in the quarterfinal of 2016 Paris Masters where he was defeated in straight sets.
Djokovic’s Near-Flawless Run in 2018
The Serbian has once again proved why he deserves to be the World No. 1. As a player who started his season outside the top 10 and eventually slipped out of the top 20, he has fought back in a cinematic manner to reclaim the No. 1 throne.
His first half of the season wasn’t that eventful. It was marked by a dearth of singles titles, a lack of consistency in his form and a general lack of confidence. Things turned around elegantly for the Serb at the start of the grass season. He lost in the final of the ATP London and followed it with a winning run at the Wimbledon.
After winning the Wimbledon, it appeared that Djokovic was reborn on the circuit. In a quick succession, he won the Cincinnati Masters, US Open, and Shanghai Masters to reach the top three. In Paris, he lost in the final to Karen Khachanov although, he became the World No. 1 owing to Nadal’s early withdrawal in the tournament.
In London, he appeared to be more dangerous than ever before. He won his opening match against Isner 6-4, 6-3 without giving a break point opportunity to his opponent. He also kept his unforced errors in single digits.
In his next game, he tamed the German Alexander Zverev – once again in straight sets. Just like his previous match, this game too was marked by an unbelievable level of efficiency – the Serbian committed only 13 unforced errors. He also kept his first service win rate above 75% in the two matches.
A Must Win Game for Cilic
Cilic qualified for the ATP Finals third year running on the back of a good year. This year, he started his campaign against the German No. 1 Alexander Zverev, to whom he lost in straight sets. After that defeat, Cilic faced John Isner in a must-win encounter in his second robin-round fixture.
This time, the Croat proved his mettle by taking the victory in three cumbersome sets. It was also the first three-setter in this year’s ATP Finals. After losing the first set in a tiebreak, the World No. 7 fought back to take the match with 6-7(2), 6-3, 6-4. He saved four out of five break points while committing only 23 unforced errors in comparison to Isner’s 38. Additionally, he also saved four break points over the course of the match.
Considering his season so far, Cilic started the season on a positive note – he reached the semifinal in ATP Pune and the final in the Australian Open where he lost respectively to Gilles Simon and Roger Federer. He followed with those feats with a gradual drop in form which didn’t change until the clay season – he reached the semifinal at the Italian Open and the quarterfinal at Roland Garros.
He repeated similar feats later in the season and along the way, he won the ATP London after defeating Novak Djokovic in the final. He was also a semifinalist at the Cincinnati Masters and a quarter-finalist at the US Open.
Djokovic v Cilic – Who will be the Winner?
It goes without saying that Djokovic has the upper hand here. He has dominated all of his past encounters with Cilic and is in a brilliant form at the moment. The Croatian will have to bring his best game here if he wants to proceed to the next round.