TennisSection previews the 2021 Rome Open as Stefanos Tsitspas (5) meets Marin Cilic in the Second Round on Wednesday May 12th, 2021.
The Monte-Carlo Masters champion Stefanos Tsitsipas will face former US Open winner Marin Cilic in the Second Round of the 2021 Rome Open Second Round. Will the unseeded veteran Cilic be able to cause a massive upset here? Or will the young superstar Tsitsipas continue his fantastic form in 2021 by advancing here in Rome?
Stefanos Tsitsipas is seeded fifth here at the 2021 Rome Open, and is currently ranked #5 in the ATP world rankings. The Greek star has firmly established himself as one of the top players in the world so far this season, winning his first Masters title in Monte-Carlo a few weeks ago. Tsitsipas has been incredibly consistent so far this season, leading the tour in match wins, and boasting a 10-2 record on clay. His big game has translated well to this surface, and he must be considered one of the main contenders for the title here in Rome. Tsitsipas enters this match against Marin Cilic as the overwhelming favorite, and he seeks to extend his lead in the ATP Race to Turin by having yet another strong showing this week.
Marin Cilic is a former world number three, and is the 2014 US Open champion. While he has seen his ranking slowly drop to #43 in the world, he remains an elite server, and has some of the most powerful groundstrokes on the tour. While most of his success has been on the quicker surfaces, he has had good results on clay, winning two titles in Umag and and Istanbul. The Croatian was impressive in his First Round win over the in-form Alexander Bublik, winning a tough three set match in a result that not many would have expected. While he enters this match as the huge underdog, his big serve is still a major weapon even on this slower surface, and his experience will also make him a difficult opponent here at the 2021 Rome Open.
This will be the second time that the two players have faced each other on the ATP Tour, with Marin Cilic leading the head to head series 1-0. The last time that they played was in 2017 in Tokyo, with the Croatian winning comfortably in straight sets. However, their careers have gone in totally opposite directions since then, with Stefanos Tsitsipas breaking through the very next year and establishing himself as one of the very best players in the world. In his current form, it is very hard to see the Greek star losing here. Even if this was Cilic’s preferred hard court it would still be unlikely for him to get the win. Tsitsipas is simply a much better player at this stage in their careers, and I expect him to win in two relatively comfortable sets. If Cilic serves well then he could make it interesting, but the likely result is a straight-sets win for the Greek star, advancing to the Round of 16 here at the 2021 Rome Open.
Free Tennis Pick and Prediction: Stefanos Tsitsipas to win in straight sets.