TennisSection previews the 2021 Rome Open as Alexander Bublik meets Marin Cilic in the First Round on Monday May 10th, 2021.
An intriguing First Round match is before us as Alexander Bublik of Kazakhstan will face Croatian Marin Cilic at the 2021 Rome Open. While both men are unseeded, they are both very accomplished players and this will certainly be an entertaining match. Will it be the enigmatic Bublik getting the win? Or can the veteran Cilic advance to the Second Round here in Rome?
Alexander Bublik is unseeded here at the 2021 Rome Open, and is currently ranked #44 in the world. Once better known for his on-court antics than his tennis talent, he has matured greatly as a player, and has had some great results recently. While he has never had much success on clay throughout his career (boasting a 6-9 record prior to last week), the Kazakh went on a fantastic run at the Madrid Masters. Bublik played some outstanding tennis en route to the Quarter-Finals, defeating Denis Shapovalov and Aslan Karatsev in the process. This will have given him a much-needed confidence boost as he heads into this match against Marin Cilic. Bublik has shown that he is more than capable of solid clay-court tennis and will be expecting to advance here.
Marin Cilic is currently ranked #41 in the ATP world rankings, and is a former world #3 and Grand Slam champion. While he has seen his ranking slowly decline over the past few years, the Croatian is still a very capable player. While most of his best results have come on the faster surfaces, he had a shocking run to the Semi-Finals at the Estoril Open, proving that he is no pushover on this surface. While not much is expected of him in the bigger tournaments these days, he is definitely able to cause a shock or two, and Alexander Bublik would be wise to not underestimate the veteran. Based on their current form Cilic will be considered the underdog, but this is a fairly even match in my opinion and could go either way here at the 2021 Rome Open.
This will be the second career meeting between the two players, with Marin Cilic leading the head to head series 1-0. They actually played each other last year at this event in the First Round, with the Croatian grinding out a tough three set win. Despite this, their success has been vastly different since then, with Bublik’s trajectory firmly pointed up, and Cilic’s down. It is always tough to go against veterans, and Cilic has a wealth of experience. However, I am backing Alexander Bublik to win. He has been very impressive this year, and is finally playing the type of tennis that he showed in flashes early on in his career. Neither player is fully comfortable on this surface and I expect it to be close, but the Kazakh has just enough firepower to have the edge here. Bublik will win and advance to the Second Round here at the 2021 Rome Open.
Free Tennis Pick and Prediction: Alexander Bublik to win.