Marin Cilic (CRO) vs.  Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA)
Cilic led their head-to-head 5:1 going into this match; he had won the last four encounters and Tsonga had not beaten him since 2011. The odds were heavily in Cilic’s favor; however, tennis is not played on paper and anything can happen once the players step on court. Cilic despite his dominance of the Frenchman and being the number one seed was not brimming with confidence though. A shaky end to last season has followed him into the 2017 season and he is struggling to find his confidence. Perhaps the psychological damage was reinforced when he lost his Davis Cup match to Juan Martin Del Potro from a two sets to none lead after he almost lost his match to Federico Delbonis again with a two sets to none lead.
The shaky mental response that Cilic has developed when he’s in the lead is becoming a rather bad habit and he has to fix that problem soon before it becomes an irreversible issue. He was the number one seed last week and lost his first match in the second round to Dustin Brown rather easily despite the score. He never looked confident and was caught off guard by Brown’s unorthodox style of play. Today, Cilic’s lack of confidence was evident in the number of times he bounced the ball before he served and the lack of sting on his shots. If Tsonga wanted to break the string of losses, this was his best opportunity. Even though Cilic was shaky it was still a fierce battle because he wanted to continue his dominance of the Frenchman and Tsonga was set on denying him another victory. He made Tsonga earn the 7-6(8), 7-6(5) victory.
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