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Cilic Opens Bid For Fourth Zagreb Crown; Becker Saves 7 M.P.

Zagreb, Croatia

Cilic© PBZ Zagreb IndoorsHome favourite Marin Cilic is looking to win his fourth Zagreb title.

Marin Cilic opened his campaign for a fourth PBZ Zagreb Indoors title on Monday with a 6-4, 6-4 victory over local wild card Mate Delic. The fifth seed fired 14 aces and lost just nine points on serve as he wrapped up victory in 71 minutes.

"It was really solid,” said Cilic. “I would say my serve was working really well today. I thought Mate played a good match. Now I'm looking forward to my next match. It always feels great playing here in Zagreb; it always raises my form. I hope this week is going to help me improve my game and get confidence for the upcoming tournaments.”

The 25-year-old Cilic improved to an 18-4 record at this ATP World Tour 250 indoor hard court tournament, where he lifted the trophy in 2009 (d. Ancic), 2010 (d. Berrer) and 2013 (d. Melzer). The right-hander, who is being coached by former Wimbledon champion Goran Ivanisevic, is bidding to win his 10th ATP World Tour title this week.

"I already feel that [Goran has] helped me a lot, especially with my serve and a different understanding of the game. They are new things for me. I'm adapting to them and trying to put them in my game during the matches. I believe it's going to work much better towards the end of the season."

Cilic returned to the court later with Toni Androic and prevailed against Ivo Karlovic and Franko Skugor 6-7(3), 6-4, 10-7 in an all-Croatian doubles match.

Benjamin Becker set a second-round clash with top seed and German countryman Tommy Haas, but he did it the hard way. The 32 year old saved seven match points as he edged Jesse Huta Galung 6-7(4), 6-3, 7-6(6) in two hours and 22 minutes.

Becker trailed 2-5, 15/40 on serve in the third set and then saved a further three match points as Huta Galung looked poised for victory at 5-3, 40/0 and serving. The right-hander dug himself out of a third and final hole in the decisive tie-break, rallying from 5-1 down and saving two more match points down 4-6 before prevailing to claim his second ATP World Tour win of the season.

The No. 93-ranked Becker has a 1-1 FedEx ATP Head2Head record against Haas. They will play each other for the first time since 2009.

Qualifying action concluded on Monday in Zagreb, with Pedja Krstin, Andrey Kuznetsov, Bjorn Phau and Michael Berrer all earning main draw berths.

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