Cilic vs. Monfils: Five things to know for their upcoming match

by: John Berkok | February 21, 2018

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Marin Cilic has been to the final in two of the past three Grand Slams. (AP)

We’re only three days into the Rio Open and there’s already an absolute blockbuster set at the ATP tour 500-level tournament—a second-round clash between Marin Cilic and Gael Monfils.

Here are five things to know about tonight’s match, which will be broadcast on Tennis Channel:

1. Cilic cruised through his first-round match—and had a day off. The world No. 3, who’s the No. 1 seed this week, held all nine of his service games and needed just an hour and 19 minutes to beat Carlos Berlocq, 6-3, 6-2. That was on Monday, giving him Tuesday to rest.

Here are highlights from Cilic's match against Berlocq:

2. Monfils had a much more difficult time in his first-round match. The No. 39-ranked Frenchman had to battle back from 5-2 down in the third set—and save a match point down 5-3—to edge Horacio Zeballos in two hours and 19 minutes, 7-5, 3-6, 7-5. And that match was just yesterday, too.

3. Cilic is going for his third quarterfinal of the year, Monfils his fourth. Cilic has already been a semifinalist in Pune (falling to Gilles Simon) and a finalist at the Australian Open, his second final in the last three Grand Slams (he lost to Roger Federer in both the Wimbledon and Aussie Open finals).

Monfils, meanwhile, won his seventh ATP tour title in Doha in the first week of the year and made the quarterfinals of Quito and semifinals of Buenos Aires in the last two weeks—both on clay.

His only early loss this year came against Novak Djokovic in the second round of the Australian Open.

4. Monfils has beaten Top 3 players before—six times. That includes one win over a No. 1 (Rafael Nadal at Doha in 2009), four wins over No. 2s (Federer at Paris in 2010, Nadal at Doha in 2012, Federer in Davis Cup in 2014 and Federer again at Monte Carlo in 2015) and one win over a No. 3 (Roddick at Portschach all the way back in 2007). Three of those six Top 3 wins came on clay.

5. Monfils has also beaten Cilic in both of their previous meetings. Neither match was easy by any means, though—Monfils prevailed in the quarterfinals of the Masters 1000 tournament in Paris in 2009, 3-6, 6-4, 6-4, and in the third round of the Olympics right here in Rio in 2016, 6-7 (6), 6-3, 6-4.

This Week on Tennis Channel Plus 2/19

ATP Rio (Feb. 19-22)

- Watch all of The Rio Open with extended coverage featuring three additional courts only available on Tennis Channel Plus

- The Rio Open begins on Tennis Channel Plus on February 19 at 2:30 p.m. ET with extended court coverage 

ATP Marseille (Feb. 20-25)

-Don’t miss Stan Wawrinka, Davis Goffin and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga compete at The Open 13 live on Tennis Channel Plus beginning February 20 at 1 p.m. ET


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