Stan Wawrinka will be aiming for his ninth consecutive victory over Marin Cilic as the two former U.S. Open champions battle it out in the second round of the Rolex Paris Masters on Wednesday.
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Playing the Rolex Paris Masters for the first time since 2016, Stan Wawrinka brings an eight-match unbeaten streak over Marin Cilic dating back to 2010 as the pair clash in the second round on Wednesday.
Wawrinka doesn’t have an overly impressive record at the final Masters 1000 tournament of the season, winning 13 matches to 12 losses, with his best result coming in 2015 when he beat Rafael Nadal on his way to the semi-finals, going down to eventual champion Novak Djokovic. The Swiss is still a mathematical chance of qualifying for the ATP Finals in London, but he needs to win the title and basically hope every single player ahead of him in the Race lose their first matches in Paris. Wawrinka also arrives in Paris under an injury cloud after he was forced to withdraw from his quarter-final against Roger Federer in Basel last week moments after beating Frances Tiafoe due to a back injury that surfaced during the closing stages of that win.
It’s been a slow grind back towards the top of tennis for Wawrinka since he cut his 2017 season short after Wimbledon to undergo two rounds of surgery on his knee. The Swiss returned for the start of the 2018 season, but was in and out of action as he continued to recover from the surgery, ending last year at No. 66 in the world. However, 2019 has been much more fruitful for Wawrinka, who has climbed back into the top 20 and is starting to show more glimpses of the sort of tennis that saw him win three Grand Slam titles at the Australian Open, Roland Garros and U.S. Open from 2014-16 and finish runner-up at the 2017 French Open.
Wawrinka brings a 32-18 record for the season coming into Paris this week, with his highlights including finishing runner-up in Rotterdam and making quarter-finals at Roland Garros and the U.S. Open, where he scored a retirement win over Djokovic before going down in four sets to the on-fire Daniil Medvedev. Wawrinka is up to No. 16 in the world after making the final of Antwerp two weeks ago, where he led by a set-and-a-break against Andy Murray before succumbing in three, but that first title since knee surgery still eludes him. It’s unlikely it will come before 2019 draws to a close, but Wawrinka will nevertheless still be hoping to end the season strongly in Paris – and he brings a dominant head-to-head against his opponent into his opening match on Wednesday.
Marin Cilic (PA Images)
Marin Cilic has endured a challenging season and will be hoping 2020 is much more successful, with the Croatian making just one semi-final for 2019 – and all he had to do in that tournament in Moscow was beat No. 87 Ivo Karlovic and No. 66 Jeremy Chardy. Cilic has reached at least the quarter-finals in his last three appearances at the Paris Masters, advancing to the semi-finals in 2016 with a win over World No. 1 Novak Djokovic (only to fall to John Isner), while he’s been eliminated at the quarter-final stage the last two years against Julien Benneteau and Djokovic. The 2014 U.S. Open champion got off to a winning start on Monday, beating Hubert Hurkacz in straight sets.
One of only a handful of players to have won titles at 250, 500, Masters 1000, Grand Slam and Davis Cup level, Cilic was ranked as high as No. 3 in the world in April last year after reaching the finals of Wimbledon in 2017 and the Australian Open in 2018, but as mentioned, he’s struggled significantly in 2019, coming into Paris with an underwhelming 21-18 record for the season. The Croatian hasn’t defeated a top 10 player all year, with his best results including that semi-final in Moscow, quarter-finals in Madrid and Washington and fourth round finishes at the Australian and U.S. Opens. After suffering a straight sets loss to David Goffin in the opening round of Basel last week, can Cilic go on a surprise run in his last tournament of a forgettable season?
He will need to break an eight-match losing streak dating back to 2010 against Wawrinka to make it past the second round. The Swiss has dominated Cilic during the last nine years, winning five of those matches in straight sets, although they haven’t played since Wawrinka underwent knee surgery in 2017. For whatever reason, Cilic hasn’t been able to deal with Wawrinka’s weight of shot, and if the Swiss has recovered from his back injury, there isn’t much cause for optimism that Cilic can prevail this time given the form he’s displayed all year.
Wawrinka vs Cilic ATP Paris live streaming, preview and tips – Wawrinka on eight-match winning streak against Cilic dating back to 2010
Stan Wawrinka will be aiming for his ninth consecutive victory over Marin Cilic as the two former U.S. Open champions…
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