Thiem vs Cilic French Open tennis live streaming, preview and predictions

hannahwilks in French Open 27 Sep 2020
Dominic Thiem has not played since winning the US Open (PA Images)

Dominic Thiem begins his Roland Garros 2020 campaign against fellow US Open champion Marin Cilic on Monday.

Thiem vs Cilic is live from Roland Garros on Monday 28 September, 1pm local/12pm BST

World no. 3 Dominic Thiem plays his first match since winning the US Open final in five dramatic sets as he begins his French Open campaign with no clay-court matches since February.

French Open 2020: Find out tournament information for Roland Garros 2020 and how to stream French Open matches live

Thiem is one of the top favourites for the French Open, where he is a two-time runner-up, but faces a tougher opening match than most against former world no. 3 Marin Cilic, a two-time Roland Garros quarterfinalist and fellow Grand Slam champion.

Read on for our preview, predictions and live streaming information.

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Thiem vs Cilic: Head-to-head

Dominic Thiem has a 3-0 record against Marin Cilic. All three meetings took place on hard courts.

The most recent clash between them was at the US Open a few weeks ago, where Thiem won 6-2, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3.

Thiem vs Cilic: Preview

In the second of two first-round clashes in the men’s draw to feature Grand Slam champions on both sides of the net, Dominic Thiem will be suiting up to see if he can open his French Open campaign with a statement win.

Thiem comes into this year’s French Open as one of the three big contenders, alongside Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic, both of whom he has beaten at Grand Slams. A French Open semifinalist in 2016-17, runner-up to Nadal in 2018-19, Thiem comes into this tournament with the pressure of trying to break into the elite circle of major winners off his back; when the shock default of Djokovic in New York guaranteed a new men’s Grand Slam champion, it was Thiem, despite not looking in particularly promising form and a horribly nervy and stilted performance in the final against Alexander Zverev, who rose to the occasion.

Players who win their first Grand Slam, especially after several runner-up finishes, often experience a bit of a slump, trying to manage the increased media attention and pressure as well as readjust to new goals. Will this be the case with Thiem? He hasn’t played since the US Open, coming into Roland Garros with his last clay-court match a defeat to qualifier Gianluca Mager in Rio de Janeiro in February; he also had Achilles injury issues in the closing stages of his New York campaign which may or may not be behind him.

Marin Cilic is a two-time French Open quarterfinalist (PA Images)

Under the circumstances facing a name opponent like Cilic, rather than an opponent he’d be expected to crush, in the first round might actually be good for Thiem psychologically. Cilic was not far off being seeded, with his current ranking at world no. 39; around the lowest it’s been for years, after a dismal 2019 season saw him slip from world no. 7 to world no. 38. That 22-19 season, which included a second-round French Open defeat to Grigor Dimitrov, has left Cilic vulnerable to meeting top seeds in early rounds, and struggling to rebuild, with some of the strongest parts of his year – like the grass-court season – wiped out entirely.

Cilic beat two seeds to make the round of 16 at the Australian Open in January, made the third round of the US Open before losing to Thiem, and had quite a good outing at the Rome Masters, beating Alexander Bublik and David Goffin before losing to Casper Ruud. In one sense, the slow conditions at this year’s French Open should suit the big-serving Cilic, but they should also be good for Thiem, who has the sheer baseline power needed to get the ball through the court. A scoreline similar to their US Open match – Thiem winning in four, 34 games – seems indicated.

Thiem vs Cilic: Prediction