Cincinnati Marin Cilic and Grigor Dimitrov to Play for First ATP 1000 Final

Dimitrov Cincinnati

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In the Cincinnati Semi-finals, 12th seed Marin Cilic and unseeded Grigor Dimitrov will play for a first appearance in an ATP 1000 final. The Tennis Review previews the action.

Cilic and Dimitrov are not names tennis fans are used to seeing in the last four of an ATP 1000 draw. In fact, this is the first time Cilic has appeared at this stage of one of the ATP’s biggest tournaments after the Slams and the World Tour Finals.

On Cilic’s 71st appearance at an ATP 1000 event, the 2014 US Open Champion finally broke through, and on a surface similar to that of the US Open, which he surprised many by winning in 2014.

That Major win in New York makes Cilic’s ATP 1000 record even more baffling. The 12th seed, up until this week in Cincinnati, had reached as many Grand Slam Quarter-finals as he had ATP 1000 (eight in total.)

When it comes to baffling and tennis results, Grigor Dimitrov is another name who comes to mind. This will not be the first time tennis fans have seen him in the semis of an ATP 1000 (this is his third appearance), but the world No.34 has not been to the semis of an ATP 1000 since Canada ’14, the Summer he reached his ATP world ranking high of eight. Since then, the the once highly touted Bulgarian has struggled to establish himself at the top of the game, putting in the odd good run here and there, but mostly losing before the business end of events.

Cilic and Dimitrov arrival at the final stages of Cincinnati has seen them take advantage of a Djokovic-Federer less draw– both the Serbian and the Swiss are difficult match ups for them- but their paths have been anything but easy.

Cilic has defeated Viktor Troicki, Fernando Verdasco, Tomas Berdych ( now coached by Cilic’s former coach Goran Ivanisevic), and his countryman Borna Coric, who retired after dropping the first set.

Dimitrov has had to get past Gilles Simon, Feliciano Lopez (who he beat in a final set tiebreaker), Stan Wawrinka, and the in-form Steve Johnson.

Both Cilic and Dimitrov have a great shot at winning their Cincinanti semi. Cilic has the head to head advantage- he leads 2-1, winning both matches on outdoor hard (Rio ’16, Brisbane ’15). Meanwhile, Dimitrov won on indoor hard at Paris-Bercy  ’15. All of their matches have been decided in straight sets.

Cilic Cincy tennis

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Cilic also has the surface advantage- the Croat can play great tennis on fast hard courts, as we saw when he did not drop a set in his last three matches  at the US Open ’14 (beating Berdych, Federer and Nishikori).

The surface is one factor that makes this match one to watch. Both men are aggressive and the fast courts will bring out some great winners. Cilic and Dimitrov have different types of aggressive styles, too. Cilic has a big serve and big ground-strokes which are a sight to behold when he hits through the court with them. Dimitrov’s aggression is that of the versatile shot-maker and his winners make up many a tennis highlights reel. Both men also have well developed defensive games so each player will need to come up with something special to get the better of their opponent, which is only good news for the spectator.

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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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