Marin Cilic vs. Gael Monfils
|Date & Time||Tuesday February 26, 2019, 3:00 AM (EST)|
Aviation Club Tennis Centre
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
The Line: Monfils -110 / Cilic -125 -- Over/Under:
Marin Cilic and Gael Monfils meet in the first round of the 2019 tennis Dubai.
Marin Cilic hasn’t played a match since losing in the fourth round of the Australian Open, so he has very few reps under his belt so far this year on the main tour. Cilic showed flashes of being his normal self in this years first grand slam, but he also had issues with his second serve and had trouble putting away points. Cilic didn’t finish the year on a high note, which included a stretch where he lost eight of 13 matches. We all know what Cilic is capable of when he’s hitting his spots, as he’s capable of beating anybody in the world any given day, but I’m not sure which player we’re going to get entering this tournament. Cilic has won five of his last six matches on outdoor hard court.
Gael Monfils has won eight of his last nine matches and is fresh off winning his eighth career title in the Rotterdam Open. Monfils is hitting the ball with great pace, serving his way out of trouble and remains quite focused. There’s been moments in matches where the Monfils of old would have thrown away some of these matches, but he moves onto the next point and finds a way to close the deal. The final against Stan Wawrinka was a clear sign this is a different Monfils, as he could hav easily gotten down on himself after crumbling in the second set. The question now is how long will this last, as there’s a reason the Frenchman hasn’t exactly fulfilled his potential up to this point. Monfils has lost four of his last five matches on outdoor hard court.
These two have played four times and Monfils has won all four meetings, most recently the match in Rio de Janeiro of last year. The other three matches took place on hard court, and two of the four wins were decided in straight sets.
I’m not sure which Cilic we’re going to get in this match given his up and down play in the AO and the thud he finished 2018 with. While it may not last, Monfils is playing brilliant and confident tennis, and he has the clear h2h advantage. We’ll see if Monfils can remain dialed in and if playing on outdoor hard court impacts him, as he’s done this recent stretch indoors.
Still, Monfils for the cheaper price has value.