Cilic to clash with Berdych in Rotterdam ATP 500 final

Cilic and Berdych will meet in the Rotterdam final (thanks to

Cilic and Berdych will meet in the Rotterdam final (thanks to

Tomorrow’s ABN AMRO World tennis tournament final will see Marin Cilic clash with Tomas Berdych for the title.

The two made it to the showpiece match in contrasting styles. Tomas Berdych tore through Ernst Gulbis 6-3, 6-2 in a remarkable display of clean hitting and aggression. Meanwhile Cilic was pushed to the limit by Igor Sisling 5-7, 6-3, 6-2, the Croat overcoming a slow start before hitting his stride in the third.

The two have met 6 times with Berdych leading the head to head 4-2. Berdych leads 2-0 on clay while the two players are 2-2 on hard and grass courts. Most tellingly, Cilic took their most recent encounter in two tight sets at Queen’s club last season, and won their match in Marseille 3 and 4, probably the two fastest courts they have played on.

The court in Rotterdam may prove to be the fastest yet though. And it is a court which flatters both their games, both men being flat strikers of the ball, aggressively minded and with potent first serves. Of the two, Cilic has the most momentum, his winning streak standing at 9 matches, but Berdych is a recent semi-finalist in Melbourne and his thrashing of Gulbis was a sign of how good his form is.

The win will go to the player who keeps their first serve percentage higher and their error count lower. In their semis, Berdych had a 68% first serve percentage and kept his errors down to 12. Cilic on the other hand had a lower first serve percentage of 58 and hit more errors in his first set than Berdych did in his entire semi.

Cilic was due a shaky match though after 8 consecutive wins. And the fact he came through it is testament to his confidence and improved mental strength. Taking that into account, plus his current indoor winning streak and his wins over Berdych on faster surfaces, the Croat goes into the match as the favorite. Cilic also overcame a major mental hurdle in beating Murray and has been tested by Sisling. He will go into the final confident and take out Berdych in two tight and entertaining sets.

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Christian Deverille

Christian Deverille is a tennis writer with a diploma in Freelance Sports Writing from the London School of Journalism. He loves all things tennis, most of all the Federer and del Potro forehands.
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