Cilic Through As Third Seed Falls
World No. 6 Marin Cilic got his 2018 ATP World Tour season off to a smooth start with a 6-4, 6-3 win over wild card Ramkumar Ramanathan on an action-packed day at the Tata Open Maharashtra.
The two-time winner looked in control for the majority of the first set, recovering from a serving hiccup at 5-3 with an immediate break back to clinch the first set 6-4. Cilic went from strength to strength in the second set, dropping just seven points across five service games on his way to sealing a quarter-final spot after 72 minutes.
However, the same could not be said for Roberto Bautista Agut as the World No. 20 fell in his season opener to French veteran Gilles Simon 6-3, 7-6(5). After dropping serve in the sixth game of the first set, the six-time ATP World Tour titlist saved set point at 3-5 to force Simon to serve it out, but Bautista Agut could not stop the 33-year-old from serving his way to a one-set lead.
A rollercoaster second set followed with Simon taking total control to lead by a double-break at 4-1, only to be pegged back immediately and taken to a tie-break. Bautista Agut looked set to take the match the distance but couldn’t see out the tie-break from 5/3 up with Simon charging back to win four consecutive points and the match to reach the quarter-finals. Simon will meet another Spaniard in qualifier Ricardo Ojeda Lara, who later triumphed 6-4, 6-4 over Belarus’ Ilya Ivashka.
Second seed Kevin Anderson also marched into the quarter-finals, advancing when Brazil's Thiago Monteiro retired down, 6-7(4), 2-3. Anderson hit 10 aces and dropped only four first-serve points (22/26). The South African will next meet seventh seed Mikhail Kukushkin, who edged Laslo Djere 7-5, 7-6(5).
A deciding set was needed for Benoit Paire, who was taken all the way by Hungarian Marton Fucsovics. The fourth seed saved five match points in the decider before emerging with the win 6-4, 6-7(4), 7-6(6) after three hours and two minutes. Fifth seed Robin Haase was also given a serious scare by Nicolas Jarry, but the Dutch star eventually pulled through 3-6, 7-6(5), 7-5. Eighth seed Pierre-Hugues Herbert came from a set down to see off home favourite Yuki Bhambri 4-6, 6-3, 6-4.