Wimbledon fourth round preview: Roberto Bautista Agut vs Marin Cilic

One of the most consistent players at reaching the second week of Grand Slams is 18th seed Roberto Bautista Agut. The 29-year-old has reached the second week at Grand Slams on nine occasions, and he is yet to reach the quarterfinals at one. The Spaniard has been playing good tennis at Wimbledon and he will be fancying his chances of joining the last eight club at SW19.

However, the 18th seed has been dealt with a tough draw after overcoming ninth seed Kei Nishikori in the previous round. Spain's number three's next obstacle is 2014 US Open champion Marin Cilic. The seventh seed has had a good 2017 despite a slow start to the year. The Croat surprisingly had a good clay court season after reaching the quarterfinals in Monte Carlo and Rome. He won the title in Geneva and completed his set of reaching the quarterfinals or better at every Slam. Cilic has a good record at SW19 in recent years, as he has reached the quarterfinals on his last three visits.

Bautista Agut's route to Manic Monday

Bautista Agut defeated Austria's Andreas Haider-Maurer, 6-3, 6-1, 6-2 advancing to the second round at Wimbledon. The talented Spaniard who's strongest surface is hard courts, had a slightly tougher time in the second round. He was taken to four sets by Germany's Peter Gojowczyk but he came through the match unscathed to reach the third round. Moreover, Bautista Agut's standout result at Wimbledon was a four-set victory over ninth seed Kei Nishikori. Japan's number one has struggled with injury over the past few weeks, and his unfortunate bad luck at Wimbledon continued. Nevertheless, the Spaniard took advantage and booked his place in the fourth round for the second time in three years.

Bautista Agut will need to keep the points longer to unsettle Cilic (Photo by Shaun Botterill / Getty)
Bautista Agut will need to keep the points longer to unsettle Cilic (Photo by Shaun Botterill / Getty)

Cilic's route to Manic Monday

The 2014 US Open champion is one of six players in the men's singles draw, who has reached the fourth round without losing a single set. The Croat had a tough first round clash with Philipp Kohlschreiber but it was a stunning display from the Croat who ensured that the German's last victory at SW19 was in 2014. In the second round, Cilic recovered from a break down to defeat another German, Florian Mayer who reached the quarterfinals way back in 2004. Like Bautista Agut, the hard-hitting Croat has faced a seed en route to the fourth round. Cilic sent the 26th seed Steve Johnson packing in a third round encounter on No.1 Court.

The 2014 US Open champion will be a tough nut to crack at this year's Wimbledon (Photo by Oli Scarff / Getty)
The 2014 US Open champion will be a tough nut to crack at this year's Wimbledon (Photo by Oli Scarff / Getty)

Their history

Cilic and Bautista Agut have met on three occasions, and it is the former US Open champion who leads their head-to-head 2-1. It will be their first encounter on grass after their previous three encounters have taken place on hard courts. Bizarrely, Cilic won their first two meetings in the final in Moscow in back-to-back years in 2014, 2015 but by the same scoreline, 6-4, 6-4. Nonetheless, the Spaniard caused the slight upset in their third round meeting at the Australian Open last year. The 18th seed sent Cilic packing in three sets to reach the fourth round in Melbourne for the second time.

Who advances to the quarterfinals?

The seventh seed is the fifth favorite to win Wimbledon behind the usual suspects. His partnership with Goran Ivanisevic was a successful one as his compatriot, the 2001 champion helped him utilize his serve better. Cilic's movement and forehand improved during his time under Ivanisevic, which is another reason why he was able to win his first Grand Slam singles title at the US Open three summers ago. The Croat will need to maintain his level of play against Bautista Agut, who is a tremendous tennis player.

The Spaniard has a good serve for his stature, and his movement is good around the court. However, the 2014 US Open champion has been playing good tennis on grass after narrowly losing to compatriot Ivo Karlovic in the semifinals in 's-Hertogenbosch, and he was a point away from clinching his second title in Queen's losing to Feliciano Lopez. Bautista Agut will need to try to extend the points and try target Cilic's backhand side which has gone stronger but is still considerably weaker than his forehand.

This will be the second match scheduled on Court 12, and the winner of this match will face, two-time Wimbledon champion and second seed Rafael Nadal or 16th seed Gilles Muller in Wednesday's quarterfinal.

Prediction: Cilic in straight sets