Former Champ Cilic Off To Winning Start In New York
Fifth seed Marin Cilic opened his quest for a second US Open crown with a 6-4, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 victory over American Tennys Sandgren on Monday. The 2014 winner in Flushing Meadows rifled 55 winners, including 11 aces, to prevail after two hours and 47 minutes.
Cilic looked in fine form in his return to action, having withdrawn from the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 events in Montreal and Cincinnati with an adductor injury. The Wimbledon finalist will next face Florian Mayer on Wednesday, following the German's 7-5, 0-6, 6-3, 6-4 win over Rogerio Dutra Silva.
"Everything feels okay physically," said Cilic. "I'm very happy with that. That's the number one thing. It was a good fight towards the end of the match. Also I was not running away to try to shorten up the points. I was actually feeling that could be also quite good for me to get in some rallies, battle it out, just mentally-wise to get myself in a good position.
"I'm feeling quite positive with the first round. Not the best as I would want, but still in a good way keeping myself positive. The last eight, nine days I'm practising full without thinking about it. That's quite good. With this first match out of the way, I think that just resolves everything."
In other action, Mikhail Kukushkin pulled one of the upsets of the day in dismissing an in-form 21st-seed David Ferrer 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 6-1. The Kazakh is on a roll after claiming a trio of match wins to emerge from qualifying and reaching the second round for the first time since 2015. Ferrer was coming off his first appearance in an ATP World Tour Masters 1000 semi-final in two years, advancing to the last four two weeks ago in Cincinnati.
Kukushkin needed two hours and 43 minutes to snap an 0-7 FedEx ATP Head2Head drought against the Spaniard. He converted an impressive seven of 15 break points to set a second round encounter with Evgeny Donskoy. The Russian prevailed over Andreas Haider-Maurer when the Austrian retired due to injury down 7-6(3), 5-1.
Diego Schwartzman earned a comprehensive 6-2, 6-1, 6-3 triumph over countryman Carlos Berlocq, grabbing seven of 11 break chances, while staving off four of five faced. He booked his spot in the US Open second round for just the second time, extending a strong run following a quarter-final appearance at the Coupe Rogers in Montreal. Schwartzman earned his first Top 10 win there, stunning Dominic Thiem. Awaiting the Argentine is former World No. 8 Janko Tipsarevic, who stormed back to oust Thanasi Kokkinakis 6-7(5), 3-6, 6-1, 7-6(2), 6-3 for his 19th career five-set victory and sixth from two sets down. It was the first Grand Slam match win for the Serbian this year, as he continues to make progress in his comeback from a lengthy injury absence.
Lucas Pouille, who registered one of the most thrilling victories of the entire 2016 season in the US Open fourth round, stunning Rafael Nadal in a fifth-set tie-break, kicked off his 2017 campaign with a 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 win over Ruben Bemelmans. The Frenchman triumphed after one hour and 42 minutes, firing an impressive 49 winners, while turning aside all eight break points faced. The 16th seed awaits the winner between Nikoloz Basilashvili and home hope Jared Donaldson.