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Zverev Shakes Off Cilic In Madrid

Reigning Mutua Madrid Open champion Alexander Zverev started his title defence Wednesday with a troublesome three-set win in opposition to Marin Cilic on Manolo Santana Stadium.

The German made a gradual begin within the second-round assembly, however discovered his vary because the match went on. He fired 11 aces and hit his heavy groundstrokes with extra authority within the second and third units to keep up his robust document in opposition to the Croatian, advancing 4-6, 6-4, 6-4.

“I assumed I performed very effectively. I simply misplaced focus within the first set,” Zverev stated. “However I’m pleased with the win and I’m completely happy to be although. Marin is a troublesome opponent, particularly with the altitude right here, so I’m pleased with this match.”

Zverev, who additionally triumphed on the clay-court ATP Masters 1000 occasion in 2018, has now received his previous seven matches in opposition to the 33-year-old, having misplaced their first encounter in Washington in 2015.

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Following his two-hour, 17-minute triumph, the 25-year-old has earned 16 match victories in Madrid, his greatest document at any Masters 1000 occasion. The second seed will intention to make it 17 when he takes on American Sebastian Korda or #NextGenATP Italian Lorenzo Musetti within the third spherical.

“It helps to be on this courtroom once more. It’s at all times nice to have these reminiscences behind your thoughts,” Zverev stated when reflecting on his previous ends in Madrid. “However I’ve to have this 12 months on my thoughts and I’ve to concentrate on enjoying effectively and hopefully I can try this this week.”

The World No. 3 is trying to carry his first trophy of the season in Madrid, after falling to Stefanos Tsitsipas within the semi-finals on the first clay-court Masters 1000 of the 12 months in Monte Carlo.

In the meantime, Cilic was aiming to clinch his first Prime 5 win since 2018, when he downed then-World No. 1 Rafael Nadal within the Australian Open quarter-finals.

In different motion, Serbian qualifier Dusan Lajovic shocked fifth seed Casper Ruud 7-6(7), 2-6, 6-4 to earn consecutive main-draw wins at a event for the primary time since Toronto final August.

The World No. 77, who reached the final eight in Madrid in 2018, saved one set level on Ruud’s serve at 6/7 within the first-set tie-break, finally triumphing after two hours and 19 minutes.

The 31-year-old will subsequent meet Pole Hubert Hurkacz or Monte Carlo finalist Alejandro Davidovich Fokina.

Daniel Evans additionally superior, edging previous Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut 6-3, 5-7, 7-6(2) after two hours and 58 minutes. The Briton will play sixth seed Andrey Rublev within the final 16, with the pair locked at 2-2 of their ATP Head2Head sequence.

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