Marin CILIC vs Cam NORRIE | ATP Estoril Open 2021 Preview | Head-to-Head and Prediction

The top seeds are tumbling in this tournament! Cam Norrie will be facing his second straight seeded player in Marin Cilic after a grueling comeback against Cristian Garin. Cilic has had his own fair share of topsy-turvy matches this week, beating young upstarts Carlos Alcaraz and Nuno Borges in two tough three-setters. Thus, these two competitors are roughly equal in terms of time spent on court, and while neither player comfortably can call the clay their home, both have shown their viability on the surface nonetheless.
Cilic and Norrie have never played a match
Cilic is 5-6 in 2021, with a notable three-set win against in-form Nuno Borges
Norrie is 14-8 in 2021, with a notable three-set win against Cristian Garin
Cilic is 2-1 on clay in 2021 (not counting 1 walkover)
Norrie is 6-1 on clay in 2021
Cilic is on his biggest winning streak in over a year after beating Alcaraz, Borges and getting a walkover over Kevin Anderson. He crushed an astounding 98% of his first serves, and since he won 77% of those points, he was in sharp control of his service games. This is something he will need to continue against Cam Norrie, who won’t be giving Cilic any mercy in the long rallies. Cilic should approach the flatter Norrie backhand to cut off any chances of longer rallies. He should also be careful not to provide too much pace to the Norrie backhand to limit how much power the Brit can send back.
Round 1 | def. Alcaraz 6-3 1-6 6-4
Round 2 | def. Borges 6-7(5) 6-4 6-4 
Round 3 | def. Anderson 7-6(7) (wo)
Norrie needs to pressure the Cilic legs to wear him down and restrict any chances of having to face the Croat's firepower. He should use his heavy forehand crosscourt 90% of the time, and use his backhand down the middle of the court to limit Cilic's angles. Other than that, consistent serving should take him over the line.
Round 1 | def. Sousa 6-1 6-3
Round 2 | def. Martinez 4-6 7-6(1) 7-5
Round 3 | def. Garin 3-6 7-5 6-3
This match is hard to call, as Cilic's form is volatile and Norrie has had to fight in consecutive 3-set matches. I believe that Cilic's flat groundstrokes won't work properly against Norrie, who has the speed and forehand topspin of Alcatraz with more experience. Given the Croat's shifty mental fortitude and horrible record this year, Norrie should be able to pack this match away.
Prediction: Norrie in 3 sets
Written by - Vikram Khandelwal
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