Marin Cilic: “The form is quite good”

ROLAND GARROS, DAY 8: The rain came fairly late on Saturday and a number of matches could not finish. The weather has been fine in Paris, actually over the last week, and it has been beautiful for the most part. Who doesn’t love the summer, wherever you are?

Before the rain poured, there were some impresses matches. Like
Marin Cilic, who crushed the tired Feliciano Lopez 6-1 6-3 6-3. He just blew him out. Cilic won the 2014 US Open, taking down Roger Federer in the semis, and then, in the final, he was locked in and overwhelmed Kei Nishikori.

Since then, Cilic has been only pretty good at the Grand Slams. In 2015, he reached the quarters at Wimbledon and the semis of the US Open, but Novak Djokovic took him down twice.

In 2016, Federer got him back in the quarters and at the US Open in the third round, American Jack Sock crushed him.

On clay in 2015 Roland Garros, David Ferrer busted Cilic in three sets. The next year in Paris, he lost in the first round. Cilic has reached the fourth round of RG a number of times, but can he reach the quarters, finally?

He has an opportunity because over the past two month as he has become more patient. He reached the final at Istanbul (losing to Milos Raonic), and he lost against the very good young player Alexander Zverev in Madrid. Then he lost in Rome against John Isner. Not bad, but not great, either.

But during the past week in Paris, Cilic rose up. On Monday, he will have to go against the huge server, Kevin Anderson. Cilic is favored, but there will be many short points. He has to hit it very deep, or else, Anderson can out-think him.

“The form is quite good, I have to say,” Cilic said. “I’m feeling really well and definitely with the fitness. I haven’t spent too much time on the court and won all the matches quite straightforward. Didn’t lose too much energy. And that’s definitely extremely important.”

How about Fernando Verdasco, who won again? He destroyed Pablo Cuevas 6-2, 6-1, 6-3. He stunned Zverev in the first round, and now the older man will face Nishikori, who just won a five-setter. They will do it again, in a five-setter, for hours and hours.

“They will do it again, in a five-setter, for hours and hours.”
How about Rafa Nadal, who destroyed Roberto Bautista Agut 6-1 6-2 6-2? He is playing perfect. Way to go for Pablo Carreno, who overcame Milos Raonic 4-6 7-6(2) 6-7(6) 6-4 8-6. It was more than four hours and, if he is a little bit tired, he will be done early in the next round because Nadal will grind him until he falls down.            
Gael Monfils advanced after Richard Gasquet retired. Monfils can raise up at RG, as he has reached the semis twice in Paris, but now he has to face Stan Wawrinka, who is playing incredibly well. Good for Kei Nishikori, who toppled Chung Hyeon 7-5 6-4 6-7(4) 0-6 6-4. He says that he is feeling healthy. We will see on Monday, as he has to face the veteran, Fernando Verdasco, who can run and run and run. Will Nishikori get hurt? Possibly, because he gets hurt all the time.

In the past two months, Dominic Thiem has played extremely well. However, he will have to face against Novak Djokovic, who destroyed him in Rome. Thiem  is young, but as he said, he doesn’t know how to play against Djokovic. He better figure it out ASAP.     

Wozniacki with upset
What a huge win by Caro Wozniacki, the former No. 1 who beat Sveta Kuznetsova in three sets today. It’s been a long time for Wozniacki, who has never understood how to play on clay. It has taken her 10 years, but finally, she figured it out … running around and crushing her backhand, going deep and to sharp angles. Her forehand is getting better with a lot of spin. She may not win the tournament, but she could reach the semis, or possibly, into the final. Wozniacki hasn’t won a major, but she has won a number of different events. At least she keeps trying, and that matter a lot.

There goes the Americans. Venus Williams went down against Timea Bacsinszky 5-7 6-2 6-1. A few hours before, John Isner lost against Karen Khachanov. Next week, there will be no USA people at all in singles. None of the guys, none of the women. Outside of Serena Williams, in the past 12 years, there have been no one who went very deep at RG. Someone has to change up their tactics, and figure out how to do it the right way.
What a huge win by Kristina Mladenovic, who took down the former champ Garbine Muguruza 6-1 3-6 6-3. Mladenovic is on a roll. She will be favored against Bacsinszky. The Frenchwoman could even reach the final. Mind blowing.

On the other side, two players can reach the semis:  Elina Svitolina and Karolina Pliskova. They have finally learned to figure out clay — or we think so.

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