Shenzhen R2 previews and picks: Garcia-Lopez vs. Rosol, Cilic vs. Millman

Cilic 1Guillermo Garcia-Lopez and Lukas Rosol will be battling for quarterfinal spot on Thursday in Shenzhen. Marin Cilic and John Millman are also a part of second-round action.

Lukas Rosol vs. (4) Guillermo Garcia-Lopez

Garcia-Lopez and Rosol will be squaring off for the third time in their careers and for the first time on a hard court when they clash in the Shenzhen Open second round on Thursday. Both of their previous encounters have come on clay; Rosol triumphed 6-3, 6-2 in the 2013 Bucharest final before Garcia-Lopez avenged that defeat with a 6-4, 7-6(7) victory earlier this season at the same Bucharest event.

Rosol is a disappointing 16-25 at the ATP level in 2015, but he opened on Tuesday with a 7-6(4), 6-4 win at the expense of Denis Istomin. Garcia-Lopez, who earned a first-round bye as the No. 4 seed, is coming off a quarterfinal performance in Metz–where he beat Pierre-Hugues Herbert before falling to Martin Klizan in a third-set tiebreaker. The 29th-ranked Spaniard also reached the last 32 at the U.S. Open. An indoor surface should help Rosol keep this one competitive, but Garcia-Lopez owns a considerable edge in current form.

Pick: Garcia-Lopez in 3

John Millman vs. (2) Marin Cilic

Cilic missed the first two months of the season and did not win a match until mid-April, but he is still hoping to make a late push for World Tour Finals qualification–at least as an alternate. The 14th-ranked Croat made an impressive progression at the Grand Slams, advancing to the fourth round of the French Open, the quarterfinals at Wimbledon, and the semis as the defending champion of the U.S. Open. In addition to success on the big stage, six of Cilic’s 13 career ATP titles have come at 250-point tournaments on indoor hard courts.

Up first for the second seed in Shenzhen is Millman, whom he has never faced. Millman owns just three ATP-level victories this season and five in his entire career, but consistent success on the Challenger tour has him four spots off his career-high ranking at 75th in the world. The 26-year-old Australian led Ernests Gulbis 7-6(7), 2-0 on Monday before getting a retirement from the Latvian. A huge step up in competition will bring a swift end to Millman’s week.

Pick: Cilic in 2

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