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Cilic Opens Hat-trick Bid; Melzer Closes On No. 300

Zagreb, Croatia

Top seed and home favourite Marin Cilic opened his PBZ Zagreb Indoors campaign on Thursday with a 6-2, 6-3 victory over Grega Zemlja. The Croat saved all four break points he faced and hit 11 aces to improve to a 14-1 event record.

The 24-year-old Cilic is bidding to win this ATP World Tour 250 indoor tournament for the third time, following victories in 2009 (d. Ancic) and 2010 (d. Berrer). 

Cilic goes onto face Slovenia’s Blaz Kavcic, who reached his first ATP World Tour quarter-final since July 2011 as he defeated sixth seed Marcos Baghdatis 3-6, 7-6(2), 6-4. Baghdatis had served for the match at 6-3, 5-4, but failed to close out and Kavcic fought back to win in two hours and eight minutes.

Kavcic is coming off a third-round effort at the Australian Open, where he defeated James Duckworth in a marathon five-set effort in blistering heat before falling to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. The 27-year-old Baghdatis dropped to a 9-2 lifetime in Zagreb; he lifted the trophy in 2007 (d. Ljubicic).

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Another seed fell as No. 5 Martin Klizan was beaten by Robin Haase of The Netherlands, 6-2, 4-6, 6-4 in just under two hours. Haase fired 14 aces and converted three of his 11 break points as he evened up his season match record to 3-3.

Haase goes onto face Germany’s Philipp Petzschner, who defeated Croatian lucky loser Dino Marcan 6-3, 6-4 in 68 minutes. Marcan replaced second seed Andreas Seppi after the Italian was forced to withdraw due to illness.

Fourth seed Jurgen Melzer is one win away from clinching his 300th tour-level victory, after beating Somdev Devvarman 1-6, 7-6(5), 6-2 in two hours and six minutes. The Austrian is through to the Zagreb quarter-finals for the third time in four visits.

Ivan Dodig, the 2011 champion, set a quarter-final encounter with reigning titlist Mikhail Youzhny after defeating Ivo Karlovic 7-6(2), 6-7(2), 6-3 in an all-Croatian clash. Dodig improved to 2-0 against his 6' 10'' countryman.

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