Denis Shapovalov attempts to snap a four-match losing streak when he comes up against former U.S. Open champion Marin Cilic in the second round of Marseille on Thursday.
Denis Shapovalov ?? vs Marin Cilic ?? Match Info
Date: Thursday February 20
Tournament: ATP Marseille R2
Court: Court Central
Time: 2.00pm local time (1.00pm GMT)
Denis Shapovalov vs Marin Cilic Head-to-Head
Level at 1-1
2019 | Indian Wells R32 | Shapovalov 6-4 6-2
2018 | Basel R32 | Cilic 6-4 6-2
Denis Shapovalov vs Marin Cilic Match Preview
After a great end to 2019 and promising start to 2020, Shapovalov has fallen off considerably over the last month or so, arriving in Marseille on the back of a four-match losing streak.
Shapovalov has experienced a lot of ups and downs in his short career so far, and he will be keen to snap this losing run as quickly as possible. The young Canadian linked up with Mikhail Youzhny towards the back-end of 2019 and the pair immediately reaped the rewards as Shapovalov captured his maiden ATP title in Stockholm and reached his first Masters 1000 final in Paris to end the season inside the top 15.
Predicted for big things to launch 2020, Shapovalov scored a pair of top 10 victories over Stefanos Tsitsipas and Alexander Zverev at the ATP Cup, ultimately pushing World No. 1 Novak Djokovic to a deciding-set tiebreak in the quarter-finals and rising to a career-high ranking of No. 13.
Set for a deep run at the Australian Open, Shapovalov faltered, first bowing out to Ugo Humbert in the Auckland quarter-finals before suffering a four-set defeat in the opening round at Melbourne Park to an in-form Marton Fucsovics. That loss seems to have shattered the confidence, with Shapovalov failing to win a single set since, losing in the opening round of Montpellier to Vasek Pospisil 6-2 6-3 and Rotterdam to Grigor Dimitrov 6-3 7-6(3).
Shapovalov also went on a five-match losing streak during the middle of last season after making a big Miami Masters semi-final. It’s becoming a bit of a pattern for the 20-year-old to follow up breakthrough results with disappointing runs of form – can he snap out of it in Marseille against a former World No. 3?
Cilic is also trying to recapture his best tennis after a knee injury contributed to a big fall from grace in 2019, while the Croatian is also coming into Marseille on the back of his first child being born after the Australian Open. Cilic put together a solid tournament in Melbourne, beating Benoit Paire and Roberto Bautista Agut to make the fourth round, where he came undone in straight sets by Milos Raonic. The 2014 U.S. Open champion played his first match since the Australian Open in his opening round in Marseille, surviving Ilya Ivashka by a tight 3-6 7-6(5) 6-4 scoreline.
The 31-year-old earned his career-high ranking of No. 3 after making the Wimbledon final in 2017 and Australian Open final in 2018, but after qualifying for the ATP Finals for the fourth time in five years that season, things took a turn for the worse in 2019. Indeed, Cilic failed to win a title for the first time in 12 years and also didn’t make a semi-final all season, with his best results including a Masters 1000 quarter-final in Madrid and fourth round showing at the U.S. Open. Cilic’s ranking dropped to it’s lowest mark since 2013 (No. 39) and he remains at that mark coming into Marseille.
Denis Shapovalov vs Marin Cilic Prediction
The pair have split their two previous matches, but neither clash has come with both players in good form – and that trend continues in Marseille as Shapovalov brings a four-match losing streak into the second round. Both players could really use the confidence boost, but Shapovalov has looked lost since the Australian Open and Cilic played well in Melbourne and also will be confident in the way he survived his Marseille opener. The Croatian may hold a very slight edge heading into this encounter.