ROTTERDAM, Netherlands: Top seed Marin Cilic reached his first quarterfinal of 2017 on Thursday when he overcame Croatian compatriot Borna Coric 6-1, 2-6, 6-4 at the Rotterdam World Tennis event.
Cilic, who had just one victory this year going into the Ahoy stadium tournament, improved to a perfect 3-0 over Coric, whose career was sidelined last autumn by injury.
“It’s always tough to play a countryman and Borna has been doing well in his comeback. It was not an easy match, even after winning the first set fast,” said former US Open champion Cilic.
“Borna has proved himself as a ‘next-gen’ player. Maybe he didn’t have the best season due to his knee surgery, but he’s playing quite consistently.”
Following his first-set thrashing, where he trailed 5-0, Coric steadied to square the match at a set each.
However, a break in the third by Cilic handed the top seed a crucial 4-3 lead.
Tomas Berdych, seeded fourth, hit 10 aces to defeat Frenchman Richard Gasquet 7-6 (7/4), 6-1 and advance into a contest against defending champion Martin Klizan of Slovakia.
Belgian third seed Dàvid Goffin earned a comeback win over Robin Haase, the last Dutchman in the field, 5-7, 6-4, 6-4.
“It’s always nice to play these tournaments. They are smaller draws than Masters or Grand Slams, but the matches are always tough,” said Goffin.
Isner fires 26 aces past Nishioka
US second seed John Isner blasted 26 aces Wednesday in rallying to defeat Japan’s Yoshihito Nishioka 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 and advance to the ATP Memphis Open quarterfinals.
Isner took one hour and 49 minutes to book a Friday last-eight date with compatriot Donald Young, who advanced with a 7-6 (7/3), 6-3 triumph over American teen Reilly Opelka in the indoor hardcourt event.
Bosnian Damir Dzumhur upset Belgian seventh seed Steve Darcis 7-6 (7/2), 6-4 in another second-round match. He will face American Ryan Harrison — who eliminated US third seed Sam Querrey 6-3, 6-1 — in another Friday quarterfinal.
In first-round matchups, Georgia’s Nikoloz Basilashvili downed Australia’s Jordan Thompson 6-3, 6-0, and Kazakhstan’s Mikhail Kukushkin ousted German lucky loser Benjamin Becker 6-3, 6-4.
Kukushkin will next face Barbados qualifier Darian King while Basilashvili meets Croatian top seed Ivo Karlovic on Thursday.