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Cilic Maintains Strong Form; Benneteau Beats Tsonga

Indian Wells, U.S.A.

Benneteau© Getty ImagesJulien Benneteau celebrates his win over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.

Marin Cilic, the No. 24 seed, continued his fine run of form with a 6-2, 6-2 win over qualifier Paolo Lorenzi in 71 minutes at the BNP Paribas Open.

Cilic has an ATP World Tour-best 19-4 record this year, which includes two ATP World Tour titles at the PBZ Zagreb Indoors (d. Haas) and the Delray Beach Open by The Venetian Las Vegas (d. Anderson). He will next play No. 16 seed Tommy Robredo after the Spanish veteran needed over two and half hours to get by Marinko Matosevic 7-6(6), 5-7, 6-4 for his 116th ATP World Tour Masters 1000 match win.

World No. 10 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga fell in his second-round opener against fellow Frenchman Julien Benneteau 6-4, 6-4. Tsonga had been looking to record his 200th match win on hard courts.

After dropping his opening service game of the second set, Tsonga recovered the break to get back at 3-all, only to lose his next service game. Benneteau claimed his 13th win against a Top 10 opponent, and also narrowed the record in his FedEx ATP Head2Head series against Tsonga to 4-5.

Tsonga became the third Top 10 player to bow out Sunday, following Juan Martin del Potro’s withdrawal due to a wrist injury and Tomas Berdych’s loss to Roberto Bautista Agut in the first match on Stadium 1.

Benneteau next faces ATP World Tour Masters 1000 debutant Dominic Thiem, who registered a signature win in dispatching World No. 23 Gilles Simon 7-6(5), 6-2. The 20-year-old Austrian maintained his composure after relinquishing an early 3-0 lead in the first set, edging the Frenchman in the ensuing tie-break and cruising from there.

Thiem - Emirates ATP Stars Of Tomorrow

Mikhail Kukushkin beat No. 25 seed Vasek Pospisil 6-0, 6-2 in 65 minutes. He will now challenge Feliciano Lopez after the Spaniard rallied past lucky loser James Ward 3-6, 6-2, 6-4.

Ward, who replaced sixth seed and last year’s finalist Juan Martin del Potro in the main draw, was seeking just his second victory on the ATP World Tour since advancing to the semi-finals at Queen's Club three years ago. Lopez will look to reach the Round of 16 in Indian Wells for the first time in 12 appearances.

Meanwhile, Alejandro Gonzalez advanced to the third round in Indian Wells in his ATP World Tour Masters 1000 debut. Gonzalez ousted No. 31 seed Ivan Dodig 6-4, 2-6, 7-6(5) in two hours and 17 minutes, overcoming 13 aces from the Croat. The Colombian had saved four match points in a first round win over Adrian Mannarino for his first tour-level victory.

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2014 Match Wins Leaders

Rank
Player Wins
1
Marin Cilic
19
2 David Ferrer
17
T3 Rafael Nadal
16
T3 Tomas Berdych
16
T5 Roger Federer
15
T5 Fabio Fognini
15

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