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Five days after his wedding, Cilic is back to work. The top seed in Istanbul earned a bye into the round of 16, and will be looking to get some matches under his belt after his break—and after cooling from a hot start to his season. The 29-year-old fell in the round of 32 in Indian Wells, the round of 16 in Miami and the quarterfinals in Monte Carlo.
For a former US Open champion and runner-up at Wimbledon in 2017 and the Australian Open in 2018, expectations are high, especially at smaller tournaments such as this one. Cilic knows this, so expect him to come out with some fire on Thursday.
Match point from Marin Cilic's win over Fernando Verdasco in Monte Carlo:
Jaziri is a player that could pose some problems for Cilic, though. The two haven't played since meeting in the round of 32 at the Canada Masters in 2014, when Cilic won, 4-6, 6-0, 7-6 (4). That was a competitive match that could have gone either way, and Jaziri is playing some solid tennis heading into this contest.
The Tunisian won his opening-round match against Marsel Ilhan, 6-1, 6-2, and that performance came after Jaziri barely lost to world No. 5 Grigor Dimitrov in the round of 16 in Barcelona. The Bulgarian escaped with a 7-5, 3-6, 7-6 (8) win, but Jaziri has shown time and time again that he is capable of competing with some of the game's top players.
Given both Cilic's and Jaziri's trajectories heading into this match, expect another close contest.