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Cilic vs Khachanov ATP Cincinnati live streaming, preview and tips - Former champion Cilic and Rogers Cup semi-finalist Khachanov into deciding set in R16 clash

Andrew Hendrie in ATP Tour 17 Aug 2018
  • Marin Cilic vs Karen Khachanov is live from Cincinnati around 12:30pm local time on Thursday (5.30pm BST)
  • First career meeting between the pair
Marin Cilic (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

Seventh seed Marin Cilic and powerful rising star Karen Khachanov conclude their Round of 16 clash on Friday, with the match on serve in the deciding set. Cilic led 7-6 3-6 1-1 (40-0) before rain stopped play on Thursday night.

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On a seven-match winning streak at the Cincinnati Masters after winning the tournament in 2016, missing the event last season through injury and winning his opening round on Wednesday, Australian Open runner-up Marin Cilic has a tough roadblock between himself and the quarter-finals in the form of young gun Karen Khachanov.

Cilic secured his maiden Masters 1000 crown in memorable style at this tournament two years ago, beating Fernando Verdasco, Tomas Berdych, Borna Coric, Grigor Dimitrov and Andy Murray to take home the silverware in form reminiscent to when he won his first Grand Slam, which also came on American soil at the U.S. Open in 2014. Cilic would end the 2016 season inside the top 10 and he made significant gains last season as he hit a career-high No. 3 in the world, finishing runner-up at Wimbledon to Roger Federer and qualifying for the Nitto ATP Finals in London for the second straight year.

The 29-year-old continued his great form into the start of 2018, making the final of the Australian Open before going down to Federer once again, but he hasn’t really hit the peak of his powers since. Cilic strangely decided to play the Golden Swing in South American after Melbourne, which in hindsight, was a terrible decision as he withdrew from Buenos Aires and lost in the second round of Rio de Janeiro - results that preceded more early eliminations from the two big Masters 1000 events in Indian Wells and Miami.

Cilic began to pick things back up with a quarter-final showing at Roland Garros and a first ATP title of the season at the 500-level Fever-Tree Championships at Queen’s Club, but disaster struck at Wimbledon as he inexcusably let slip of a two-sets-to-one lead against Guido Pella to lose in the second round. Touted as one of the leading contenders for the title pre-tournament, it was one of Cilic’s worst career losses, but he did turn things around somewhat last week in Toronto, making the quarter-finals and completely blowing eventual champion Rafael Nadal off the court in the opening set before succumbing in three.

Starting his Cincinnati Masters campaign with a come-from-behind three-set win over Marius Copil on Wednesday, can Cilic return to the quarter-finals?

Karen Khachanov (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
He faces a big test in Karen Khachanov. The Russian quietly advanced into his first ATP Masters 1000 semi-final last week at the Rogers Cup with wins over Filip Krajinovic, Pablo Carreno Busta, John Isner and Robin Haase before also going down to Nadal in two tight sets, while he’s backed that run up by making the Round of 16 here in Cincinnati, coming from behind to beat Albert Ramos-Vinolas in the opening round and defeating Sam Querrey 7-5 6-4 on Wednesday to set up the clash with Cilic.

Touted as a future top 10 player and Grand Slam champion for the last few years now, Khachanov has done a nice job of establishing himself inside the world’s top 50 over the last 12 months or so - and he’s reached fresh heights courtesy of his semi-final run in Toronto, moving up to a career-high No. 27 in the world before arriving in Cincinnati. Overall, it’s been a wonderful season for the 22-year-old - he also picked up his second ATP title in Marseille and made the fourth round of both the French Open and Wimbledon.

But can he score a career-best win over Cilic? Khachanov’s only top 10 wins so far have come against No. 10 David Goffin in Barcelona 2017, No. 9 Kei Nishikori in Halle 2017 and No. 9 John Isner in Toronto last week. The Russian has found himself somewhat limited in his tussle’s with the game’s elite, while his movement has also been exposed - and those are the two areas he will need to work on in order to take that next step towards the top 15 and beyond. Signs suggest Khachanov is getting there, but Cilic basically does everything that little bit better, and I’d say he gets the job done on Friday.

Marin Cilic vs Karen Khachanov is live from Cincinnati around 12:30pm local time on Thursday (5.30pm BST)

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Cilic vs Khachanov ATP Cincinnati live streaming, preview and tips - Former champion Cilic and Rogers Cup semi-finalist Khachanov into deciding set in R16 clash

Seventh seed Marin Cilic powerful rising star Karen Khachanov continue their Round of 16 on Friday, with the match into a third set.

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