It has been a steady year for the big-serving Croatian and he set his stall out for the clay court season with a win in Istanbul, but his quiet progression through the Roland Garros draw saw him come unstuck at the hand of former champion Stan Wawrinka.
It has been a long while since Cilic graced Den Bosch, after being bounced out in the first round back in 2006. He has chosen to leave London for the first time since 2007 and make his grass start in Den Bosch so it will be interesting to see if he comes up trumps in terms of seeding.
Talk about highs and lows. After beating Novak Djokovic in Rome to claim his first ATP Masters 1000 title and a spot in the Top 10, Zverev was one of the shock exits in the first round of the French Open.
Last year he reached the final in Halle, and this year, presumably after his indecently early exit from the French Open, he has thrown in Den Bosch to pick up more time on the grass ahead of Wimbledon. He will play Halle again instead of Queen’s before Wimbledon.
In the last couple of years Karlovic has made the best use of his big-serving tactics on the grass, with some good showings in the warm-up events and especially in post-Wimbledon Newport. He had his best run at Den Bosh last year with a run to the semi-finals, and that big booming serve is always a danger.
Last years defeated finalist returns, and his big serving game should serve him well on grass. Along with his run to the final last year, he reached the semi-final of Nottingham, but maybe this left him a little over-cooked by the time he got to Wimbledon, only reaching the second round.
He, like Karlovic seems to enjoy the post Wimbledon speed in Newport – where he lost out to the Croatian in the final there too.
The Ricoh Open takes place between 12-18 June – (BST +1 hour).
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