Top seed Marin Cilic will continue his Rotterdam campaign against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga during quarterfinal action on Friday. Grigor Dimitrov, meanwhile, will try to keep his hot streak going at the expense of familiar foe David Goffin.
(1) Marin Cilic vs. (6) Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
Cilic and Tsonga will be squaring off for the seventh time in their careers at the ATP level when they battle for a semifinal spot at the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament on Friday. The head-to-head series stands at 5-1 in favor of Cilic, who has won four matches in a row against Tsonga dating back to 2013. They have not faced each other since a contentious 2015 U.S. Open quarterfinal showdown, won by the Croat 6-4, 6-4, 3-6, 6-7(3), 6-4.
In need of a big week, Cilic scraped into the Rotterdam quarters thanks to three-set victories over Benoit Paire and Borna Coric. Still, the world No. 7 is just 3-3 this season with losses to Jozef Kovalik in Chennai, to Dan Evans at the Australian Open, and to Dustin Brown in Montpellier. Tsonga’s 2017 campaign, on the other hand, is off to a solid–if unspectacular–start. The 14th-ranked Frenchman reached the quarters in Doha and Melbourne prior to a semifinal showing last week in Montpellier, and he has rolled over Stefanos Tsitsipas and Gilles Muller so far in Rotterdam. An in-form Tsonga should be able to pound serves and groundstrokes to take time away from the Cilic forehand, thus ensuring a trip to another semifinal.
Pick: Tsonga in 2
(5) Grigor Dimitrov vs. (3) David Goffin
Dimitrov and Goffin are set to face each other for the third time already this season and for the second time in the last six days. They just battled for the Sofia title, with Dimitrov triumphing in front of the home crowd via a 7-5, 6-4 decision this past Sunday. The Bulgarian is now sweeping the head-to-head series 6-0, with three wins at the ATP level, one at a Challenger, and two on the Futures circuit. At last month’s Australian Open, Dimitrov scored a 6-3, 6-2, 6-4 quarterfinal victory over Goffin before losing a five-set semifinal to Rafael Nadal.
That setback is Dimitrov’s only blemish of this entire year. The world No. 12 is an amazing 16-1 with a title in Brisbane to go along with his Sofia success. He has maintained his hot streak this week thanks to defeats of fellow Aussie Open noisemakers Mischa Zverev and Denis Istomin. Goffin’s quick turnaround on the heels of last week has been similarly impressive, highlighted by wins at the expense of Andrey Kuznetsov and Robin Haase. The 11th-ranked Belgian is a stellar 10-3 for his 2016 campaign. As well as Goffin is playing, this is clearly a brutal matchup for him and there is no sign of Dimitrov’s scorching form coming to an end in the immediate future.
Pick: Dimitrov in 3