ATP Marseille Final Preview: Marin Cilic - Nick Kyrgios
Nick Kyrgios celebrates after his quarterfinal win over Richard Gasquet at the Open 13 in Marseille/AP

ATP Marseille Final Preview: Marin Cilic - Nick Kyrgios

The Aussie is looking for his first ATP title while Cilic looks to add to his trophy case.

john-lupo
John Lupo

Nick Kyrgios looks to win his first career ATP Tour title as he faces fourth seed Marin Cilic in the final of the Open 13 in Marseille.

How they got here

Cilic has had his issues in reaching the final. After receiving a first round bye, he barely escaped Dutchman Robin Haase 4-6, 6-3, 7-5 in the second round. Following that narrow victory, he recorded a straightforward 6-3, 6-4 over Russian Andrey Kuznetsov. Following that win, he again struggled, this time in the semifinals, getting fast eighth seeded Frenchman Benoit Paire 6-2, 6-7(3), 6-3 to reach his first Open 13 final.

Kyrgios has had quite possibly the best week of his career, not dropping a set en route to his second career final. He defeated Canadian Vasek Pospisil 6-4, 6-4 in the first round. In the second round, he won by the identical 6-4, 6-4 score over Russian Teymuraz Gabashvili. In the quarterfinals, Kyrgios blew away third-seeded Frenchman Richard Gasquet 6-0, 6-4 in the quarterfinals. He followed that win up by beating second-seeded Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic 6-4, 6-2 in the semifinals, reaching his second career final.

Head-to-Head

Cilic won the only previous meeting between the two, a 6-4, 6-2, 6-2 win in the second round of the 2013 French Open.

What to expect

Both players have games perfectly suited to the indoor hard courts, so it's no surprise they are in this final. Although Cilic has not looked particularly good this week, he's used his experience and toughness to persevere through the close wins over Haase and Paire. Kyrgios has shown an unusual steadiness and consistency not often seen week in, week out, in getting to the championship match.

He won't be fazed by the occasion as he reached the finals of Estoril last year. Cilic has been in this spot many times before and he'll be steady, not giving away cheap points to Kyrgios. Both players will want to dictate play, but in different ways: Cilic with his excellent backhand and superior movement, Kyrgios with his powerful serve and forehand. One break of serve may determine each of the sets.

Prediction

Kyrgios in straight sets. As briefly mentioned above, Cilic has many advantages, mainly experience and movement, but he's struggled this week. Kyrgios is too talented to not have won a title by now and when he's focused on just his tennis, he's capable of beating anyone as he's shown this week with dominating efforts over Gasquet and Berdych.

Cilic will pose more problems for Kyrgios than either of his previous two opponents, but the Aussie's form has been too good in Marseille. He'll use that confidence and his powerful game to defeat the Croat and capture his first career title.

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