Marin Cilic vs Pablo Carreno Busta ATP Rome tennis Preview, Predictions and Live Stream: Cilic takes on Carreno Busta in Rome quarters

Leye Aduloju in ATP 18 May 2018
  • Marin Cilic vs Pablo Carreno Busta is live from Rome on Friday, 18 May from 2:00pm local time/ 1:00pm BST
  • Cilic won their two previous meetings, but they were on hard courts
  • 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 FILIPPO MONTEFORTE/AFP/Getty Images)

Marin Cilic targets his first semi-final since the Australian Open when he takes on Pablo Carreno Busta on Friday.

Marin Cilic vs Pablo Carreno Busta is live from Rome on Friday, 18 May from 2:00pm local time/ 1:00pm 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 had made a terrific start to the season, reaching the semi-finals in Pune, and making the final at the Australian Open- his third Grand Slam final- but he went of the boil after that, managing back-to-back wins just once between Melbourne and the start of this week’s meet in Rome.

Opting to play on Latin American clay after that Australian Open run, Cilic was beaten by Gael Monfils in the second round in Rio, while he also lasted just one round at Indian Wells before falling to Philipp Kohlschreiber. Those consecutive wins came in Miami, where he beat Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Vasek Pospisil before losing to eventual champion, John Isner in the fourth round.

The Croatian opened his clay court season in Monte Carlo, beating Fernando Verdasco before benefitting from the withdrawal of Milos Raonic in the next round, but his tournament was ended by Kei Nishikori, who pulled off a 6-4 6-7 6-3 victory over the world number five. The 29-year-old got married at the end of April, before heading over to Istanbul for his title defence. It didn’t quite go as well over in Turkey, as he was beaten by Malek Jaziri in the opening round.

He sneaked past Ryan Harrison in his opening round in Rome, surviving a two-day rain-interrupted marathon to take the match on a final set tie break. He had a much easier time in the third round against Benoit Paire, taking down the Frenchman, who had been in good form heading into the contest, in straight sets.

Cilic jumped out to a 3-0 lead, and rode on that early break through the set, serving it out to love after 33 minutes. Roles were reversed at the start of the second set with Paire going up 3-0, but Cilic reeled in the Frenchman, winning six of the next seven games to take the win and with it a spot in the Rome quarter finals for the second consecutive year, and for the third time overall. Can he progress into the semi-finals for the first time in his career by beating Pablo Carreno Busta on Friday?


Prior to 2018, Carreno Busta had won just one match in Rome, last year against Gilles Simon, but he has picked up three this week to advance to the quarter finals for the first time in his career. 

Pablo Carreno Busta. (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
Bizarrely, this is the Spaniard’s first Masters 1000 quarter final on clay, compared to a couple of semi-finals on hard courts (Indian Wells 2017 and Miami 2018). It’s been an intriguing anomaly in Carreno Busta’s career- the durable Spanish baseliner who has enjoyed more success on hard courts than on clay. His best Grand Slam result was a semi-final at the US Open, while he has more career titles on hard courts than on clay. 

The 26-year-old has had to battle hard for his place in Friday’s quarter finals, needing three sets to get through each of his first three rounds, but he really had no business going the distance against Aljaz Bedene in Thursday’s third-round contest. He opened his tournament with a three-set victory over Jared Donaldson, beating the American to love in the final set, before outlasting Steve Johnson, also in three in the second round. Then came the match against Bedene…

Carreno Busta had played brilliantly, particularly in the second set to establish a 6-4 5-0 advantage, but the Spaniard somehow conspired to throw away that massive advantage, dropping his serve twice and missing two match points at 5-4 before surrendering the set on a tie break. Thankfully, for his sake, he regrouped to break in the opening game of the final set, before breaking again in the fifth game to go 4-1 up. There was no stuttering on the line this time, as he closed out the set and the match at the first time of asking to move on in the Italian capital.

The world number 11 had been slow off the blocks in 2018- a fourth-round finish at the Australian Open was OK, but he struggled surprisingly on South American clay, winning just one match between Quito, Buenos Aires and Rio. Once again, he found more joy on hard courts, reaching the round of 16 at Indian Wells before making the semis in Miami. Back-to-back semi-finals in Barcelona and Estoril followed as he finally found his feet on the European clay, and while he slipped up in Madrid, where he fell to Borna Coric in the opening round, he has been back to winning ways in Rome, albeit going about it the hard way. He now stands just one win away from a fourth semi-final in five tournaments.

Cilic has won both of their previous meetings, Basel in 2016 and the Australian Open earlier this year, where he squeezed out a 6-7 6-3 7-6 7-6 victory. The Croatian has the greater firepower on serve, and off the ground, but Carreno Busta is a very steady player, patient during rallies and often selecting the right shots. Cilic’s firepower makes him a slight favourite for this one, but I think Carreno Busta has got a good chance here; with the clay taking a bit off Cilic’s pace. He’s however got to avoid the alarming dip he suffered against Bedene in the previous round, because there will be no coming back against Cilic if that happens again!  

Marin Cilic vs Pablo Carreno Busta is live from Rome on Friday, 18 May from 2:00pm local time/ 1:00pm BST


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Marin Cilic vs Pablo Carreno Busta ATP Rome tennis Preview, Predictions and Live Stream: Cilic takes on Carreno Busta in Rome quarters

Marin Cilic and Pablo Carreno Busta meet in the Rome quarter finals on Friday. Who will reach a first Rome semi? Read our preview, predictions and stream the match live online.

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