Cilic finally shows signs of life to beat Paire

By Matthew Scott 14 February 2017 5526
Cilic finally shows signs of life to beat Paire

Top seed Marin Cilic secured safe passage into the second round of the Rotterdam Open with a three-set win over Benoit Paire.

Victory was just Cilic's second of 2017 after first-round exits in Chennai and Montpellier sandwiched a defeat in round two of the Australian Open.

But the world number seven clicked into gear in the Netherlands, coming from behind to seal progression 5-7 6-3 6-2.

Cilic found himself behind, having burned two set points in the opener, but he levelled things in the second and reeled off five games in a row - including a hold that featured six saved break points - in the decider to book a meeting with Borna Coric in the next round.

Sixth seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga cruised past Greek wildcard Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-4 7-6 (7-2), with Gilles Muller awaiting him after a 6-3 6-2 win over world number 317 Tallon Griekspoor.

Tsonga said of his low-ranking opponent: "It was difficult, as I did not know him at all. That's unusual on the Tour, never seeing somebody at all. I didn't know where to play at the start or what to expect."

Reigning champion Martin Klizan was a three-set winner against Fernando Verdasco and he will play Philipp Kohlschreiber in round two after the German beat Lucas Pouille.

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Matthew Scott