Cilic Sets Key London Clash With Goffin
Blockbuster third round set in Paris
Ninth seed Marin Cilic set up a key clash with David Goffin in the Emirates ATP Race To London as he overcame fellow Croatian Ivo Karlovic 7-6(7), 6-2 on Wednesday in the second round of the BNP Paribas Masters in Paris.
"I’m really excited and satisfied with my form, especially these past few months," said Cilic. "I’ve been trying for a long time to find that consistency at the big tournaments. That was a goal of mine at the beginning of the season, so I’m just hoping to continue with good tennis here and make it to London."
Cilic will now play eighth seed Goffin, who kept alive his outside chance of playing at The O2 as he defeated Nicolas Mahut 7-6(5), 6-3. Goffin must beat Cilic and win the title at the AccorHotels Arena this week to clinch one of the two remaining spots in the elite eight-player field at the season finale.
"David has been playing very well this season. We just played in Tokyo and it was a tough match," said Cilic. "It’s a battle now between me, him, Berdych and Tsonga. I’m just hoping to continue with my good tennis and find a good way to play him this time."
With Rafael Nadal out for the rest of the season, ninth-placed Cilic is currently in line to qualify for the eight-man season finale at The O2, but must stay ahead of Tomas Berdych and Goffin this week at the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournament in Paris.
Cilic put himself in a strong position to qualify for the year-end championships for a second time after winning his second ATP World Tour title of the season last week in Basel, where he defeated Kei Nishikori in the final. The Croat first qualified at The O2 in 2014, the same year that he won his lone Grand Slam title at the US Open.
Goffin leads his FedEx ATP Head2Head rivalry with Cilic 3-0, recording wins this year in Tokyo, Indian Wells and a Belgium-Croatia Davis Cup tie in March. But the indoor surface in Paris suits the big-serving Cilic, who will likely be able to earn plenty of short points off that shot. This will be the earliest round that they’ve played each other in an ATP World Tour event.
Goffin’s best result to date at an ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournament is reaching back-to-back semi-finals earlier this year in Indian Wells and Miami.
"I'm just focused on what I have to do and I'll play match by match," said Goffin. "I can feel that it's the end of the season and it's never easy when you feel a little bit tired. But it's a big tournament and my goal is to finish the season without any regrets. I'm just going to give everything until the end."