qfpick

World No. 23 Marin Cilic put together one of the most impressive performances of the French Open against world No. 2 Daniil Medvedev in the round of 16. The big Croatian earned a 6-2, 6-3, 6-2 victory in a match in which Medvedev was a -320 favorite. Now, he a lot of momentum into a meeting with world No. 7 Andrey Rublev in the quarterfinals.

While Cilic once again finds himself as an underdog, the 33-year-old really feels like the player more likely to win. Cilic is fresh off one of the best performances of his entire career and dominating in the fashion he did means that he should be feeling pretty good physically. That’s important when you factor in that Rublev only had to play two sets before Jannik Sinner retired in their quarter-final match. Cilic has also dropped only one set in this tournament thus far, while Rublev has dropped at least one set in all four of his matches. There’s also no guarantee that the Russian would have emerged with the victory against a healthy Sinner, who is a phenomenal clay-court player. Having said that, it’s the Croatian that enters this battle in the better recent form.

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Another thing that will bring Cilic confidence against Rublev is the fact that he beat the 24-year-old at this year’s Australian Open. That ended up being a 7-5, 7-6 (3), 3-6, 6-3 victory, and it wouldn’t be all that surprising if this match were to go somewhat similarly. While both players possess a ton of power from the baseline, it’s Cilic that has a major advantage with the ball on his racquet. Rublev isn’t an awful server or anything, but he can get himself into a lot of trouble when his first serves aren’t going in. The Russian just does not have a lot of faith in his second serve, so he often just tries to guide it in. If he does that, Cilic isn’t going to hesitate to swing for the fences and try to hit the cover off the ball. That means that the Croatian should have more break point opportunities than his opponent.

Overall, it’s just a little surprising to see Cilic at plus-money in this one. Rublev has a better head-to-head history and ATP ranking, but it’s Cilic that has the more significant recent successes. And he’s firing on all cylinders coming into this match, so we’re just not looking to go away from him now.

The Pick: Cilic To Win (+110)