Basel QF previews and picks: Nadal vs. Cilic, Sock vs. Young

The Grandstand

Rafa 3A blockbuster quarterfinal on Friday in Basel will pit Rafael Nadal against Marin Cilic. A far more surprising showdown features fellow Americans Jack Sock and Donald Young.

(7) Marin Cilic vs. (3) Rafael Nadal

Nadal and Cilic will be squaring off for just the fourth time in their careers and for the first time in more than four years when they clash in the quarterfinals of the Swiss Indoors Basel on Friday. Nadal is leading the head-to-head series 2-1 after cruising 6-1, 6-3 on the clay courts of Rome in 2011. They have split their two previous hard-court encounters with respective blowouts; Cilic dominated 6-1, 6-3 in the 2009 Beijing semifinals before Nadal coasted 6-2, 6-4, 6-3 in round four of the 2011 Australian Open.

Despite a mostly disappointing season, Nadal qualified comfortably for the World Tour Finals. The seventh-ranked Spaniard is starting to post improved results, with a final in Beijing, a semifinal in Shanghai…

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