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Marin Cilic vs Ryan Harrison ATP Rome Preview, Predictions and Live Stream: Cilic and Harrison meet for the second straight year in Rome

Leye Aduloju in ATP Tour 15 May 2018
  • Marin Cilic vs Ryan Harrison is live from Rome on Tuesday, 15 May from 9:00pm local time/ 8:00pm BST
  • Cilic leads 6-1 on head-to-head
Marin Cilic. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

For the second straight year, Marin Cilic and Ryan Harrison meet in the second round of the Rome Masters, with both men looking to find some form after respective patchy periods.

Cilic returns to the tour after skipping the Madrid Masters because of a knee complaint; and will look to inject some momentum into his season after stagnating in the last few months. The 29-year-old had opened the year with a semi-final in Pune, and a runner-up finish at the Australian Open, where he pushed Roger Federer to five sets in the final, but he has struggled to make an impact since then. Cilic is yet to make an ATP semi-final since the Australian Open- falling in the second round in Rio, where he made a brief appearance on clay, losing in the third round at Indian Wells, and exiting the Miami Open in the round of 16 after losing to eventual winner, John Isner.

He then made the quarter finals in Monte Carlo, helped out by the withdrawal of Milos Raonic from their scheduled Round of 16 contest, while he lost to Malek Jaziri in the opening round in Istanbul, where he was the defending champion. Cilic subsequently pulled out of Madrid, citing a knee injury that had bothered him since Monte Carlo. While he struggled off court, the Croatian enjoyed some personal milestone off it, as he got married at the end of April, fixing the big day in that little period between Monte Carlo and Istanbul. 

Cilic spent almost three months at a career-high ranking of No. 3 after the Australian Open, but his recent patchy form, including that failed title defence in Istanbul has pushed him down a couple of spots to No. 5 in the world. He has got to find some form very quickly, as he has got plenty of points to defend through Roland Garros and the grass court season. 

Cilic had one of his best seasons on clay last year, winning the Istanbul title, and making quarter finals in Monte Carlo, Rome and Roland Garros, but that hasn’t quite been the case this year. He can still finish strongly though as he has got Rome and Paris to come, starting with an opening round meeting with Ryan Harrison and the Foro Italico.


Harrison made a fine start to the season, reaching the final in Brisbane, and getting to the third round of the Australian Open; but he has been a mixed bag since then, making the quarter finals in Acapulco, but suffering opening round defeats at Delray Beach, Indian Wells and Miami.

Like most of his fellow Americans, he began his clay court season on home soil in Houston, losing to Taylor Fritz in the second round. The second round was also his final stop in Madrid, where he was stopped by countryman, John Isner in two tie breaks after beating Guillermo Garcia-Lopez in the opening round.

The American opened his Rome campaign with a 7-6 6-3 victory over Japan’s Yuichi Sugita to reach the second round at the Foro Italico for the second straight year. He did not drop his serve throughout the match, saving all five break points he faced, sending down 11 aces and winning 83% of points on his first serve in the two-hour contest. The 26-year-old recovered from 3-0 and a double mini-break down in the opening set tie break to power through seven of the next nine points, before breaking twice in the second set to complete a very good win. 

Clay isn’t exactly Harrison’s thing, he was 3-7 on the surface last year, with his best result being a quarter final run in Estoril, but that was only after Juan Martin del Potro withdrew from their second-round meeting. His best results last year were unsurprisingly on hard courts, with the American claiming his first career title in Memphis; and making the final in Atlanta. Unfortunately, those performances were too isolated, with numerous first round and second round exits scattered around them, as reflected in his negative 19-23 record for the season. 

Harrison is making just his second main draw appearance in Rome- last year, he beat compatriot, Jared Donaldson in his opening match before falling to Cilic; can he reverse the result on Tuesday and not only secure back-to-back wins in Rome for the first time, but win two successive matches on the tour for the first time since Acapulco in late February?

Cilic has a commanding 6-1 led over the American, including that 6-3 6-2 victory in Rome. All of Cilic’s victories have come in straight sets, while Harrison’s only win was a three-set victory in Acapulco in 2016. Neither man has been playing particularly well in recent weeks, but Cilic has dominated this match-up, and is basically the better and more consistent player. The Croatian should get the job done, and move into the third round.

Marin Cilic vs Ryan Harrison is live from Rome on Tuesday, 15 May from 9:00pm local time/ 8:00pm BST


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Marin Cilic vs Ryan Harrison ATP Rome Preview, Predictions and Live Stream: Cilic and Harrison meet for the second straight year in Rome

Marin Cilic and Ryan Harrison meet in the second round in Rome on Tuesday. Will Cilic continue his dominance over the American? Read our preview, predictions and stream the match live online.

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