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Cilic, Mathieu Cruise; Youzhny Ousts Almagro

Munich, Germany

Mikhail Youzhny© Matthias HuberMikhail Youzhny reached the Munich final in 2007

ATP World Tour No. 15 Marin Cilic made smooth progress in his title assault at the BMW Open by FWU AG with a comfortable 6-0, 6-4 victory over 2007 champion Philipp Kohlschreiber on Wednesday at the ATP World Tour 250 tennis tournament in Munich.

The Croatian, who also reached the quarter-finals (l. to Mathieu) on his Munich debut last year, saved all three break points he faced while converting four of five opportunities on Kohlschreiber’s serve to wrap up his third victory over the German in 77 minutes. The No. 41-ranked Kohlschreiber captured his maiden ATP World Tour title in Munich (d. Youzhny) in 2007 and has a 9-4 event record.

Currently a career high in the South African Airways 2009 ATP Rankings, the 20-year-old Cilic improved to a 23-6 match record on the season courtesy of reaching his first ATP World tour quarter-final since February in Dubai (l. to Ferrer). The Zagreb resident won two ATP World Tour titles in his first three tournaments of the year with victories at Chennai (d. Devvarman) and Zagreb (d. Ancic).

Cilic will avoid facing a third successive German opponent in the quarter-finals after France’s Jeremy Chardy knocked out sixth seed Nicolas Kiefer 6-4, 7-6(8).

World No. 39 Paul-Henri Mathieu won consecutive matches for just the second time this season as he cruised past German Denis Gremelmayr 6-1, 6-4.

The seventh-seeded Mathieu, who had not won back-to-back main-draw matches since reaching the semi-finals in his season opener at Brisbane (l. to Verdasco), converted four of nine break points and saved two of the three he faced to wrap up his 13th (13-11 record) victory of the season in 74 minutes.

The 27-year-old Mathieu reached the semi-finals (l. to Bolelli in third-set tie-break) on his debut in Munich last season. The Frenchman’s last two ATP World Tour titles came on clay in 2007 at Casablanca (d. Montanes) and Gstaad (d. Seppi).

Mathieu next will face 2007 runner-up Mikhail Youzhny who withstood seven aces and broke serve twice in ousting third-seeded Spaniard Nicolas Almagro 7-6(2), 6-4 to reach the quarter-finals in Munich for the fourth time.

The Russian, who has a 10-5 event record, reached the semi-finals on his event debut in 2002 (l. to El Aynaoui) and the following year made a quarter-final exit (l. to Federer) before advancing to the final in 2007 (l. to Kohlschreiber). The Muscovite also captured the doubles title with Philipp Kohlschreiber in 2007.

World No. 26 Almagro slipped to his ninth loss of the season (13-9 record) and is yet to reach a quarter-final in the European clay-court swing. The Spaniard enjoyed much more success in the South-American clay-court spell in February, capturing his fifth ATP World Tour title in Acapulco (d. Monfils) and reaching the quarter-finals in Costa do Sauipe (l. to Gil).

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©Arnaud Briand

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