One of the three Grand Slam champions from Croatia, Marin Cilic lost his quarterfinal match to World Number ten, Daniil Medvedev at Citi Open 2019. It was his first-ever loss to the 23-year-old Russian, who has recently broken into the top-ten list of ATP.
His recent straight sets win over, Felix Auger-Aliassime was termed as Cilic’s best performance of this year, but he couldn’t really keep up with it as he dealt with a slump in his very next match.
With this defeat, Cilic has failed to reach semi-finals at an ATP event this season and consequently, he hasn’t pulled off any title this year. In this decade, besides the ‘Big Four’ of tennis, Stan Wawrinka and Cilic as the only two players to reach at least three Grand Slam finals.
The big-server, Cilic concluded the year 2018 as the World Number seven tennis player, but this year in March after Cilic got bageled by Gael Monfils in Dubai and he dropped out of the top-ten rankings. Since then, his ranking graph this year has been going downhill.
It has been a tough year for Marin Cilic so far, he began this year by pulling out from the Maharashtra Open due to the adversities in his knee and then flew to Australia, with a label of ‘reigning finalist’. In Melbourne, he could play a few decent matches against Mackenzie McDonald and Fernando Verdasco, but lost to the 24th ranked, Roberto Bautista Agut in a five-set thriller.
Twelve years ago, he broke into the top-100 rankings and since then, Marin Clic has been residing inside the first-hundred grade. He achieved his first-ever ATP title in Connecticut after defeating the American, Mardy Fish and since then he has been winning a title every year on the ATP Tour.
His Grand Slam winning year, 2014, is a year to commemorate. That year, he not just lifted up the US Open title, but en route to his biggest accomplishment, he also achieved his first-ever win over the Swiss legend, Roger Federer. In total, Cilic won four hard-court titles that season.
The skyscraper, Marin Cilic has been making a few deep runs at Slams since 2014 and last year, it was the season to celebrate as the Croatian reached the quarterfinals at French Open and US Open and finals at Australian Open. His run to Melbourne finals eventually raised him to a career-high ranking of World Number three.
Later, at Queen’s Club Championship he won his first title of the season by defeating Novak Djokovic in the finals. Apart from his performance on the major courts, in 2018, Cilic breezed into the quarters of three Masters events and raced into the semifinals of Rome and Cincinnati.
All his losses at the ATP 1000 events were conceded against players like Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Kei Nishikori, John Isner, and Alexander Zverev, but this year, Cilic jots down a different plot. Except for his loss to Djokovic in Madrid, all his losses have occurred against the players ranked outside the top 20 rankings.
At Wimbledon 2019, Cilic lost a match to the 69th ranked, Joao Sousa. It was their fifth meeting, and Cilic conceded his very first defeat to him. The Croatian outperforms Sousa when their grass-court statistics are juxtaposed, but his straight-sets loss to him at Wimbledon is a loss to worry upon.
He failed to convert 12 break chances and gave the Portuguese player his ticket to the third round. Last year, he lost to Guido Pella after taking two sets to love to lead second round encounter.
A year before becoming the finalist at Wimbledon, Marin Cilic held a first two sets lead against Federer in Wimbledon quarters. After coming across match points in the fourth set, Cilic got eliminated in five sets. It was one of the painful defeats of his career. However, this year, Cilic recorded his worst performance at Wimbledon over the past five years.
Since 2014, Marin Cilic has won more than 12 Grand Slam matches every year (in 2016 he just won eight, but reached the quarters at Wimbledon ), but this year, the World Number 17, Cilic has just won five matches at majors so far. This very much shows the steep decrease in Cilic’s performance on the ATP circuit and especially on the major courts.
To avoid the consequence of a title-less season, Cilic needs to uplift the level of his tennis in the remaining part of the season. From now on, its a hard-court run for the rangy Croatian and he happens to have an expertise on that surface. Hopefully, he can snap his title-less streak which has been persisting for the last 14 months.