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Berdych Strong In Chennai Opener; Cilic Rallies

Chennai, India

Cilic© Aircel Chennai OpenMarin Cilic began his quest for a third title in Chennai.

World No. 6 Tomas Berdych made a strong season debut on Thursday, cruising past Somdev Devvarman 6-3, 6-1 in the second round of the Aircel Chennai Open.

In a first-time meeting between two wild cards, Berdych was never troubled against the home favourite. The Czech won 82 percent of his service points and did not face a break point. He converted four of his nine break points to advance in 65 minutes.

Berdych is coming off his third consecutive finish inside the Top 10 of the Emirates ATP Rankings. He led his country to the Davis Cup crown, captured two tour-level titles and reached the US Open semi-finals in 2012. He will play Roberto Bautista Agut in the quarter-finals. The Spaniard beat Matthias Bachinger 7-6(4), 6-3.

Two-time former champion Marin Cilic reached the quarter-finals as he rallied from a set down to defeat Ukrainian Sergiy Stakhovsky 4-6, 6-2, 6-3. The Croatian fired 15 aces and broke serve three times to claim victory in one hour and 46 minutes.

“It was difficult to play him. I think he played really well in the first set,” said Cilic. “I think it was about adjusting to the conditions. Then, I served well, I played much better and I did some things really good. So in the end, I’m satisfied with the win.”

The 24-year-old Cilic has a 14-2 main draw record at this ATP World Tour 250 hard-court tournament, highlighted by lifting the trophy in 2009 (d. Devvarman) and 2010 (d. Wawrinka). The right-hander won two ATP World Tour titles in 2012 and compiled a 39-19 mark.

For a place in the semi-finals, Cilic will face fifth-seeded Benoit Paire. The Frenchman dismissed Israel’s Dudi Sela 6-1, 6-0 in just 40 minutes. Paire capitalised on five of his seven break point chances and hit nine aces.

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