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Dimitrov Battles Hard In Rotterdam; In-Form Cilic Advances

Rotterdam, The Netherlands

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Eighth seed Grigor Dimitrov won the match of the day Tuesday at the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament, when he overcame Dmitry Tursunov 6-2, 1-6, 6-4 for a place in the second round.

Tursunov could have led 3-0 in the opening set, but squandered a 40/15 lead in the third game. But he made amends in the second set, breaking Dimitrov’s serve to 15 for a 3-1 lead.

Dimitrov, the youngest member of the Top 20 in the Emirates ATP Rankings at No. 19, could not convert his first match point opportunity at 5-4 in the deciding, coming out second best in a 38-stroke rally. But he converted his second chance, with the match time at two hours, when Tursunov hit a half volley long. 

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Marin Cilic returned to the court in Rotterdam earlier in the day, almost 48 hours after he had lifted his 10th ATP World Tour title and fourth crown at the PBZ Zagreb Indoors. The World No. 37 recorded his 10th match win of the season with a 6-2, 6-2 victory over Lukas Rosol on the indoor hard courts of the ATP World Tour 500 tournament. Cilic, a quarter-finalist in 2011, will next meet fifth seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the second round.

“In the first couple of games it was about getting used to the conditions,” said Cilic. “I then started to mix up my returns and he made some critical errors. I served very well and it was a solid match. Last week helped me a lot, playing five matches in a row at home. It gave me a lot of confidence. I always like playing indoors and I hope to continue to improve my game.”

Ernests Gulbis hit seven aces and lost just seven of his first service points to beat Denis Istomin 6-4, 7-6(4) in just over 90 minutes. He will next attempt to reach his second ATP World Tour quarter-final of the year, when he challenges eighth seed Dimitrov. Last month, Gulbis lost to Rafael Nadal in the Qatar ExxonMobil Open last eight.

Jerzy Janowicz improved to a 3-0 FedEx ATP Head2Head record against Julien Benneteau, after fighting back for a 3-6, 6-4, 6-4 victory in just under two hours. He will face the winner between Tommy Haas and Fernando Verdasco.

Igor Sijsling knocked out seventh seed and 2007 champion Mikhail Youzhny 6-2, 6-2, losing seven points on serve in the 75-minute encounter.

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Doubles Seeds Tumble Out; Rojer/Tecau In Form

Top seeds Ivan Dodig and Marcelo Melo were upset in their first-round match for a second straight week, falling to Lukas Rosol and Andreas Seppi 4-6, 7-6(2), 10-6.

Johan Brunstrom and Jarkko Nieminen battled back from a 2-7 deficit in the Match Tie-break to defeat fourth seeds Rohan Bopanna and Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi 7-6(4), 2-6, 11-9 in 86 minutes.

Last week's Zagreb champions, Dutchman Jean-Julien Rojer and Romanian Horia Tecau, prevailed against Michael Berrer and Sergiy Stakhovsky 6-2, 6-7(6), 10-5.

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