Marin Cilic vs Benoit Paire ATP Rome tennis Preview, Predictions and Live Stream: Unpredictable Paire stands between Cilic and second straight Rome quarter final

Leye Aduloju in ATP 17 May 2018
  • Marin Cilic vs Benoit Paire is live from Rome on Thursday, 17 May from 1:30pm local time/ 12:30pm BST
  • Cilic leads 3-1 on head-to-head
  • Watch and bet on tennis live from Rome at bet365 > live streaming > tennis (geo-restrictions apply; funded account required or to have placed a bet in the last 24 hours to qualify)
Marin Cilic. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

Marin Cilic targets a second straight quarter final at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia when he takes on Frenchman, Benoit Paire at the Foro Italico on Thursday.

Marin Cilic vs Benoit Paire ATP Internazionali BNL d'Italia is live from Rome on Thursday, 17 May from 1:30pm local time/ 12:30pm BST 
Watch and bet on tennis live from Rome at bet365 > live streaming > tennis (geo-restrictions apply; funded account required or to have placed a bet in the last 24 hours to qualify)

Cilic survived a two-day opening round fixture against Ryan Harrison, coming through 7-6 in the third set on Wednesday after persistent rain in the Italian capital had forced the match to be carried over from the previous day. The pair were locked at 3-3 in the opening set tie break when play was abandoned on Tuesday, but Harrison was the quicker to settle on resumption, winning four straight points to take the opening set. Cilic came charging back in the second set, winning five straight games from 1-1 to force a decider. Both men exchanged breaks midway through the deciding set, but Cilic played the stronger tie break, taking the first five points to effectively put the contest out of his opponent’s reach. The world number five converted his first match point with the match clock reading two hours and 35 minutes.

It’s been a strange season for Cilic, who notably reached the final of the Australian Open, but struggled to make any impression on the tour after that. He won just one match in each of Rio and Indian Wells; and fell in the fourth round in Miami. The Croatian opened his clay-court season in Monte Carlo, where he lost to Kei Nishikori in the quarter finals, before suffering an opening round exit in a failed title-defence in Istanbul. He then pulled out of the Madrid Open as a result of an injury that had bothered him since Monte Carlo. In the midst of all of that, Cilic reached a milestone in his personal life, as he became the latest ATP star to get married.

Cilic had also made a slow-ish start to last season, and it wasn’t until the clay-court season that he began to find some consistency, leading up to a brilliant campaign on grass. He has reached the quarter finals in three of his last four Masters 1000 tournaments on clay- can he add another by beating the mercurial Frenchman, Paire on Thursday?


Paire has already produced two fine results this week, beating Richard Gasquet 6-4 6-4 in the opening round, before recovering from a set and a break deficit to oust Diego Schwartzman in the second round on Wednesday. 

Benoit Paire. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Paire looked to be dashing quickly towards the exit door when he trailed 6-2 4-2, but the Frenchman suddenly caught fire, winning four games in a row to takes the second set, before stretching that match-winning streak to eight games to take a 4-0 lead in the deciding set. The tenacious Schwartzman mounted a late resistance, saving seven match points at the death, but Paire was not to be denied, closing out the match on his eighth match point to complete a very satisfying win.

Rome was the site of Paire’s finest Masters 1000 moment, with the 29-year-old making the semi-finals in 2013, but he hasn’t gone beyond the third round at this level outside that 2013 performance.  He had fallen in the second round in his two previous visits to the Italian capital, and for large spells against Schwartzman on Wednesday, it looked like it would be a third straight second-round exit for the Frenchman until he launched that dramatic turnaround against the Argentinean.

It is the sort of thing Paire is capable of, but unfortunately, there have been far too few of such through the course of his career. He had made an encouraging start to the season, reaching semi-finals in Pune and Sydney, but he lost to Guillermo Garcia-Lopez in the opening round of the Australian Open, before making the quarter finals in Montpellier. He didn’t make any quarter finals in the remainder of the hard-court season, but he did score a marquee victory over Novak Djokovic in the second round of the Miami Open.

Paire struggled to get going on clay, falling at the first hurdles in Marrakech and Monte Carlo, while he only went one step better in Barcelona and Madrid. However, he has won back-to-back matches on the surface for the first time this season in Rome, beating Gasquet and Schwartzman to reach the third round. Can he score another big win over Cilic on Thursday?

I won’t put it beyond Paire as he has got the ability to take out Cilic, who is still yet to convince since reaching the final of the Australian Open. Paire has won just one of the four meetings between the pair, but the Frenchman has taken at least a set off the Croatian in each of their past matches. This will be their first meeting on clay- a factor which I think gives Paire an even better chance of pulling off the upset.

There is nothing fussy about the way Cilic goes about is business- he serves big, hits big from the back of the court, and occasionally comes to the net, but the maverick Paire often takes a more complicated route, particularly off his majestic backhand. Having beaten Gasquet and Schwartzman, confidence must be pretty high, and if he relaxes and plays close to his best, he has got a very good chance to eliminating Cilic on Thursday.

Marin Cilic vs Benoit Paire is live from Rome on Thursday, 17 May from 1:30pm local time/ 12:30pm BST
Watch and bet on the match live at bet365 > live stream > Marin Cilic vs Benoit Paire  (geo-restrictions apply; funded account required or to have placed a bet in the last 24 hours to qualify)


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Marin Cilic vs Benoit Paire ATP Rome tennis Preview, Predictions and Live Stream: Unpredictable Paire stands between Cilic and second straight Rome quarter final

Marin Cilic and Benoit Paire meet in R3 of the Rome Masters. Can Cilic get the better of the enigmatic Frenchman? Read our preview, predictions and stream the match live online.

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