No spam ever. Unsubscribe in one click. By submitting your email address, you indicate your consent to receiving email marketing messages from us.

Djokovic vs Cilic ATP Madrid Preview, Predictions and Live Streaming: Djokovic seeks first semi-final since Australian Open

Leye Aduloju in ATP Tour 9 May 2019
  • Novak Djokovic vs Marin Cilic is live from Madrid on Friday, 10 May from 12:00pm local time/ 11:00am BST
  • Djokovic leads 17-2 on head-to-head
Novak Djokovic. (Photo by: Manu Reino/SOPA Images)

Novak Djokovic seeks his first semi-final since the Australian Open when he takes on Marin Cilic at the Madrid Open on Friday.

Djokovic looked on course to continue his remarkable dominance of the tour when he won the Australian Open in January- his third straight Grand Slam title- but his form surprisingly dropped off after that as he failed to make the quarter finals in either Indian Wells or Miami, losing to Philipp Kohlschreiber and Roberto Bautista-Agut. The world No. 1 returned the quarter finals in Monte Carlo, but a disappointing three-set loss to Daniil Medvedev raised further questions over the Serbian’s form.

He has looked OK for the most part in his Madrid run, opening with a 6-4 6-2 victory over Taylor Fritz, before taking out Frenchman, Jeremy Chardy 6-1 7-6 in the third round on Thursday. The two-time Madrid champion had not dropped a set in his 12 previous meetings with Chardy, but he came very close to losing that perfect record on Thursday, needing to save set point while serving at 4-5 in the second set before taking the set, and the match in the ensuing tie break.

“The first set was great,” Djokovic reflected. “I started off with a very solid game. I put a lot of returns back in play. Yes, he was making errors… And then, of course, in the second set, it changed because he started serving with more percentage and less errors from the back of the court. His forehand was lethal. He was really making a lot of winners and good stuff."

Djokovic admits that his form isn’t quite at the level it should be, but the world No. 1 is hopeful of getting back to his best in time for the French Open.

“It's not the first time in my career that I'm experiencing those ups and downs,” the Serbian said. “I tried to keep it as stable as possible not to have too big of an extreme swing”.  
“I'm building slowly… Roland Garros, on clay is where I want to peak. But of course I would love to try to get as far as in this tournament and also in Rome next week as possible.”

Having already won Wimbledon and the US Open last season, and the Australian Open earlier in January, Djokovic will be looking to complete a sweep of all four Slam at Roland Garros, just like he did at the 2016 French Open. Such a scenario was unimaginable at this time last season, when the Serbian was struggling for form and confidence, having had elbow surgery in January. He produced a sensational second half of the year, rising from outside the Top 20 to regain the No. 1 ranking. He has not quite found that level in the last three months, but just like he showed last year, he is very capable of flicking a switch and reverting to that almost unplayable mode. Can he regain that form at latter part of the Madrid Open? He will attempt to get into the Madrid semi-finals for the third time in four years when he takes on Marin Cilic on Friday.

Cilic can also do with a deep run, having struggled through the first four months of the year.

The Croatian, who is now down at No. 11 in the world, arrived Madrid on a four-match losing streak, having lost to Denis Shapovalov in the second round at Indian Wells, and failed to cross the first hurdles in Miami, Monte Carlo and Budapest, but he has put together a welcome run in Madrid, battling through a trio of tough three-setters against Martin Klizan, Jan-Lennard Struff and Laslo Djere to reach the quarter finals at the Caja Magica for the first time in his career. The Croatian saved four match points in a 6-4 2-6 7-6 victory over Klizan, fought back from a set down to beat Struff in the second round, and then recovered from a set and a break deficit to take out Djere on Thursday.

Djere has been one of the form players on clay this season, winning the ATP 500 title in Rio earlier in the year, and defeating Juan Martin del Potro in the previous round, and he looked on course for another big win when he held a 6-4 3-1 lead over Cilic. However, the former US Open champion launched an impressive fight back, winning 11 of the next 13 games to pull off a 4-6 6-3 6-2 victory- just his seventh match win of a difficult season.

“I was a set and a break down, with Laslo having a few break points at the start of the second to go a double break down,” said Cilic. “I stuck to my game, and one opportunity arose and I started to play way, way better from the middle of the second set to the end of the match.”

Cilic was bothered by a knee injury at the start of the year- a problem he carried over from last season- and had to pull out of a scheduled appearance in Pune in the opening week. He instead began his season at the Australian Open, where he battled through the pain barrier to the fourth round, losing to Roberto Bautista-Agut in five sets, having saved match points in a five-set victory over Fernando Verdasco in the previous round.

He won just one match in his next five tournaments, but he has played himself back to some form in Madrid, and now targets the big win over Djokovic on Friday.

Djokovic holds a dominant 17-2 lead over Cilic in their career meetings, and has won the last three matches, but Cilic has got closer to the Serbian in their recent matches. He was 1-3 in their 2018 meetings, but he took at least a set off Djokovic in three of those four matches. There isn’t much secret between the two- Cilic will try to be very aggressive, as he should be, while Djokovic will rely on his rock solid defence and counter punching skills to pick off the Croatian. The world No. 1 has had the upper hand over the years, and while both have not been at their best in recent months, Djokovic is in far better form, and should extend his dominance against the Croatian on Friday.

Novak Djokovic vs Marin Cilic is live from Madrid on Friday, 10 May from 12:00pm local time/ 11:00am BST

*Geo-restrictions apply. Customers must have funded account or placed bet within the last 24 hrs

Share this with your friends

Your comments:

Djokovic vs Cilic ATP Madrid Preview, Predictions and Live Streaming: Djokovic seeks first semi-final since Australian Open

Novak Djokovic attempts to reach the semi-finals of the Madrid Open for the third time in four years when he takes on Marin Cilic on Friday. Read our preview, predictions and stream the match live online.

Read more »

You have unread messages

You have unread messages