10sBalls.com • TennisBalls.com

Ricky’s Preview And Pick For Thursday @ Nitto ATP World Tour Finals • Federer vs. Cilic

Marin Cilic of Croatia in action during his men’s singles match against Jack Sock of the USA at the ATP World Tour Finals tennis tournament in London, Britain, 14 November 2017. EPA-EFE/WILL OLIVER



Ricky’s preview and pick for Thursday at the World Tour Finals: Federer vs. Cilic


By Ricky Dimon


Roger Federer and Marin Cilic will “only” be playing for 200 ATP ranking points and $191,000 in prize money when they wrap up their round-robin campaigns at the Nitto ATP World Tour Finals on Thursday night. Strictly from a tournament perspective, nothing is on the line. Federer is already through to the semis and Cilic is mathematically eliminated.


The two veterans have faced each other on eight previous occasions, with Federer leading the head-to-head series 7-1. Cilic famously prevailed 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 at the 2014 U.S. Open en route to his lone Grand Slam title, but he has otherwise struggled against the GOAT. They have squared off twice since that memorable 2014 meeting, with both of those encounters having come in London–albeit at Wimbledon as opposed to the O2 Arena. Federer survived a five-setter in 2016 before coasting through this year’s championship match 6-3, 6-1, 6-4.


Due in part to a back injury, the 36-year-old could not make mincemeat out of the rest of the tour during the hard-court summer like he did at the All-England Club. But now that he is 100 percent again, Federer is clearly the best player in the world at the moment. He is 12-0 this fall with titles in Shanghai and Basel. This week’s No. 2 seed has improved to an incredible 54-12 lifetime at the year-end championship with victories over Jack Sock and Alexander Zverev, dropping one set to Zverev in the process.


Federer’s Tuesday night defeat Zverev clinched the top spot in Group B while erasing Cilic’s semifinal hopes. The fifth-ranked Croat really sealed his own fate by squandering break leads in the third set against both Zverev and Sock. He lost his opener to Zverev 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 before falling to Sock 5-7, 7-2, 7-6(4).


“It is frustrating, absolutely,” Cilic commented. “Definitely (it was) disappointing in both matches in that third set, being in a good position, putting myself in a good position. But, unfortunately I didn’t close it…. I was quite motivated in both matches. I felt that I played well. I know that I wasn’t playing the best, especially in those critical moments I was not coming up with some great shots…. That was just a little bit unfortunate that I wasn’t able to close. I was putting myself in a really nice position.”


Cilic was in this same position at the 2016 World Tour Finals, where he was eliminated at 0-2 before picking up his first-ever win at the O2 Arena by beating Kei Nishikori. Motivation will not be a problem for Cilic, who could see Federer try out some different things as the six-time WTF champion prepares for semifinal Saturday.


The result should be a competitive contest, but Federer will also be motivated to keep his bid for an undefeated run through London alive.


Pick: Federer in 3


Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.


10sBalls Editors Note: This match up is the same as July in London. Marin played ROGER in the Finals of WIMBLEDON. Marin had a foot issue and basically “choked” entering the Tennis Worlds biggest stage. He was overwhelmed by looking at photos as he walked thru the hallways of the All England Club…. and to Roger, that’s his backyard. That’s HIS “Home Court”… He cruised in the clubhouse. Around the clubhouse. His name and photos are everywhere… He is a MEMBER.

Ok, so here we are at the beautiful and blasting 02 Arena. About as opposite stages as one could get. The AELTC versus The 02 Arena.

It should be a great match.

We choose Federer in straight sets. Let’s make it silly. We say two tiebreakers all going RF way. 7-6,7-6

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *