Cilic Records 400th Match Win In Istanbul
Raonic continues bid to reach his first clay-court final
Marin Cilic became the third Croatian in ATP World Tour history to record 400 match wins (or more) on Friday when he booked his spot in the TEB BNP Paribas Istanbul Open semi-finals.
Cilic joined fellow Croats Goran Ivanisevic (599) and Ivan Ljubicic (429) in passing the milestone after the second seed defeated eighth seed Steve Darcis 6-1, 6-1 in 45 minutes, losing just four of his service points. It was the pair’s first meeting since March 2009 at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells.
"This was the best match for me this year considering how I moved and took the ball early. This was the way I need to play," said Cilic. "I’m extremely happy with this and am completely focused for the next matches."
He will now challenge defending champion and third seed Diego Schwartzman, who improved to 10-1 lifetime at the ATP World Tour 250 tournament when he beat Dusan Lajovic 7-5, 6-2 in one hour and 32 minutes.
“Whenever I come here, I have a lot of confidence to play,” said Schwartzman. “Today I played well again on Centre Court, but Dusan started a little bit better than me. I then played really good tennis at the end of the first set and in the second, I kept pushing and didn’t make many mistakes. It’s great to be in another semi-final.”
Cilic, who watched Schwartzman play Lajovic, said, “(Diego) played a very solid match, his qualities mean he defends well and is extremely quick. A clay-court game definitely suits him, so I will have to work hard and expect a few more rallies.”
Top seed Milos Raonic fired 25 aces to knock out sixth seed Bernard Tomic 7-6(4), 7-6(6). That tied a mark with Wayne Arthurs (Munich, 2003) for the most aces hit in a two-set tour-level clay-court match since records were kept in 1991.) The Canadian, who saved one set point at 5/6 in the second set tie-break, has not lost a set in any of their five meetings.
“I wasn’t able to dictate and control the court, but I served well and it kept me alive in the match,” said Raonic. “I definitely had more chances in the first set as I felt I was the one controlling, although I didn’t get ahead. I was holding easily, and even though it went to a tie-break, I felt comfortable. He had a chance at the start of the second set. I fought as hard as I could and it came down to a few shots.”
Raonic will now look to extend his 4-1 FedEx ATP Head2Head lead against fifth seed Viktor Troicki, who advanced when leading 6-2, 3-3 against fellow Serbian Laslo Djere, who retired due to dizziness.
Czechs Reach Doubles Final
Roman Jebavy and Jiri Vesely continued their top form to reach the doubles final over Aussies John-Patrick Smith and Jordan Thompson 7-6(4), 7-5. The Czech pair defeated second seeds Santiago Gonzalez and Dominic Inglot on Thursday.
In quarter-final action, Antonio Sancic and Adil Shamasdin needed three match point opportunities to edge past top seeds Nicholas Monroe and Artem Sitak 6-3, 1-6, 10-8 in 78 minutes for a place in the semi-finals. They will next face wild cards Tuna Altuna and Alessandro Motti, who defeated third seeds Jonathan Erlich and Scott Lipsky 7-5, 3-6, 10-7