• Cilic opens in Memphis against countryman Dodig

    2/18/13 6:35 AM | Ricky Dimon
    Cilic opens in Memphis against countryman Dodig Marin Cilic will kick off his Memphis campaign as the top seed on Monday. Up first for the Croat is a showdown against compatriot Ivan Dodig.

    It will be an all-Croatian affair when occasional doubles partners Marin Cilic and Ivan Dodig go head-to-head in the first round of the U.S. National Indoor Championships on Monday afternoon.

    Their only previous ATP main-draw encounter also came on an indoor hard court last fall in Valencia, where Dodig prevailed 6-3, 7-6(6). However, they also faced each other twice on clay in the mid-2000s (once in a Futures event and again in ATP qualifying) and Cilic won both of those meetings.

    Cilic took a little while to heat up this season, but--as always--he rounded into form at home in Zagreb. The world No. 12 (as of Sunday) captured his third Zagreb title to improve his 2013 record to 9-2. He also won a pair of Davis Cup rubbers against Italy, only to watch Dodig lose the decisive fifth match to Fabio Fognini.

    Dodig is a modest 4-5 for the year. The world No. 63 did well to reach the third round of the Australian Open, but he lost both of his Davis Cup singles matches and fell to Mikhail Youzhny in the Zagreb quarterfinals.

    The underdog's game, which features aggressive baseline play and a surprisingly strong serve, works well on indoor hard courts. Cilic, however, is often at his best on this surface--which is bad news for Dodig. Look for Memphis' top seed to advance in straight sets.

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