Our Day 9 Australian Open preview Tuesday’s quarter-final blockbuster between Rafael Nadal and Marin Cilic.
History: Played 6: Nadal 5 V Cilic 1.
Last meeting: October 14, 2017 (Shanghai Masters – SF): Nadal d Cilic 7-5, 7-6.
Final Thoughts: We’re getting down to the business end of the 2018 Australian Open, and the pick of the quarter-finals is Tuesday’s showdown between world No.1 Rafael Nadal – the equal-second favourite coming into the tournament – and sixth seed Marin Cilic.
Rafa, last year’s runner-up, has dropped just one set in reaching the quarters – a tie-break against Diego Schwartzman in the fourth round. Cilic lost a set in the first round to qualifier Vasek Pospisil, before accounting for Joao Sousa and Ryan Harrison in straight sets, and outlasting 10th seed Pablo Carreno Busta in a tough four-setter in the round of 16.
The 2014 US Open champion and a Wimbledon finalist last year, Cilic is aiming for his first Australian Open semi appearance since 2010. Nadal has won 12 of his last 14 slam quarter-finals and is the defending French Open and US Open champion.
Cilic’s sole win in clashes between the two came in their first meeting, in Beijing in 2009. Rafa has won all five encounters since, including a straight-sets fourth-round win at the 2011 Australian Open.
Croatian Cilic’s main weapon is a booming first serve and a punishing forehand, but the Spanish legend is vastly superior on second-serve points and that could prove the difference – but it would surprise if the match was wrapped up in straight sets.
AUSTRALIAN OPEN TIPS
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