WILL EVANS’ daily preview serves up French Open tips for the quarter-final between resurgent veteran Marin Cilic and world No.7 Andrey Rublev.
23:00 (AEST), Wed 1st Jun @ Stade de Roland Garros, Paris
History: Played 6: Rublev 4 V Cilic 2
Last meeting: Australian Open, 2022 (R32): Cilic d Rublev 7-5 7-6 3-6 6-3
Final Thoughts: Marin Cilic heads into his first grand slam quarter-final since 2018 as the underdog, but he’ll be full of confidence that he can find a way past world No.7 Andrey Rublev.
Cilic, the 20th seed, has been outstanding at Roland Garros so far. He has dropped only one set so far – the first in a four-set win over Marton Fucsovics – and since then has demolished French stalwart Gilles Simon (6-0 6-3 6-2) and world No.2 Daniil Medvedev (6-2 6-3 6-2).
The 33-year-old has lost only four games on serve and did not even offer up a break-point opportunity to a shell-shocked Medvedev.
Rublev has tread a more difficult path to the quarters. He needed four sets to get past Kwon Soon-woo, Federico Delbonis and Cristian Garin. Eleventh seed Jannik Sinner then blitzed Rublev 6-1 in the first set of their fourth-round showdown before retiring early in the third.
The 24-year-old shaped as a dark horse for the French Open title after winning the Serbia Open in April, beating Novak Djokovic in the final. But we’re yet to see his best in Paris.
Quantity vs recency in rivalry
Rublev boasts a 4-2 head-to-head lead over Cilic, with a four-match winning streak featuring Miami Masters and Cincinnati Masters victories in 2021. But Cilic scored a four-set upset in the third round of this year’s Australian Open.
Cilic, the 2014 US Open champ and runner-up at 2017 Wimbledon and the 2018 Australian Open, boasts the edge in grand slam experience. He has appeared in 13 major quarter-finals, winning four. Rublev is 0-4 in grand slam quarters, going down in straight sets to Stefanos Tsitsipas at this stage of the 2020 French Open.
Anything close to Cilic’s performance that destroyed Medvedev will be too good for Rublev – unless he lifts a couple of gears. Cilic’s underdog value is hard to deny.