A two-time Roland-Garros runner-up, Thiem had no chance of working his way into this year’s tournament against an opponent of the Croat’s credentials.
No worries on that front. These are the things we learned from a resounding 6-4, 6-3, 6-3 victory.
A little tension won't hurt
Thiem had won all three prior meetings against former world No.3 Cilic but had conceded a set to him in the third round of his Flushing Meadows title run earlier this month.
Turns out it was a challenge the Austrian hankered for right from the off, a sure-fire way to really determine where he stood.
“Maybe there is some little extra motivation or some extra per cent in myself, because I know that I have to play my best tennis to beat Marin because of all the things he achieved and because he's still playing really, really good,” Thiem said.
“The main challenge was to have or to get the match tension again. Because, I mean, I was on fire in New York for two weeks, and then one week at home where I tried to relax but not lose all the tension, because obviously I want to do well here in Paris. I guess I found a good mixture.”