• Djokovic, Cilic clash at Western & Southern Open

    8/17/12 5:17 AM | Ricky Dimon
    Djokovic, Cilic clash at Western & Southern Open Novak Djokovic looks toward a semifinal berth in Cincinnati on Friday. Standing in his way is Marin Cilic.

    Novak Djokovic and Marin Cilic will be going head-to-head for the seventh time in their careers when they meet in the quarterfinals of the Western & Southern Open on Friday afternoon.

    Djokovic has utterly dominated his opponent, with a 6-0 overall record and a 14-1 mark in total sets. By far their most memorable encounter came at the 2008 U.S. Open, where Djokovic survived 6-7(7), 7-5, 6-4, 7-6(0). They most recently faced each other last summer in Montreal, with the Serb cruising 7-5, 6-2.

    But it's safe to say that Cilic is absolutely peaking right now. The 15th-ranked Croat captured recent titles at Queen's Club and in Umag in addition to a fourth-round performance at Wimbledon and a semifinal in Hamburg. So far in Cincinnati, Cilic has taken out Sergiy Stakhovsky, Jesse Levine, and Pablo Andujar.

    Djokovic is coming right off a title in Toronto, so he is not exactly well-rested. However, the world No. 2 got exactly what he needed on Thursday night when Nikolay Davydenko retired after 32 minutes. Djokovic, who beat Andreas Seppi in his tournament opener, is now 52-9 for his 2012 campaign.

    Cilic may be borderline on fire at the moment, but it remains to be seen if he can overcome the mental hurdle of playing such a nemesis. His chances are slim at best, so Djokovic in straight sets is the obvious pick.

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Current ATP-rankings

1. Djokovic 12 500 pts
2. Murray 8 750 pts
3. Federer 8 670 pts
4. Ferrer 6 970 pts
5. Nadal 6 385 pts

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