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Australian Open: Marin Cilic, Grigor Dimitrov move into second round

Marin Cilic had to work hard to make it to the second round of the Australian Open, whilst Grigor Dimitrov eased to a straight sets victory in his opening encounter.

tennis Updated: Jan 15, 2018 16:56 IST
Australian Open,Marin Cilic,Grigor Dimitrov
Marin Cilic returns to Vasek Pospisil during their men's singles first round match on day one of the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne on January 15, 2018. Cilic won 6-2, 6-2, 4-6, 7-6 (7/5). (AFP)

Former US Open champion Marin Cilic was taken to four sets and five match points before reaching the second round of the Australian Open on Monday.

The Croatian sixth seed looked set for a cruising straight sets victory before dropping the third set against Canadian qualifier Vasek Pospisil.

Pospisil made things interesting in a tense fourth set tiebreaker before Cilic finally prevailed 6-2, 6-2, 4-6, 7-6 (7/5) on Hisense Arena.

It is the ninth time Cilic, the 2014 US Open champion, has reached the second round in Melbourne as he tries to better his semi-final appearance in 2010 where he lost to Andy Murray.

Cilic is coming off an outstanding 2017 where he lost to Roger Federer in the Wimbledon final and made the quarter-finals at Roland Garros along with climbing to a career-high ranking of four.

Grigor Dimitrov gave qualifier Dennis Novak a lesson in grand slam tennis to reach the second round of the Australian Open at a canter with a 6-3, 6-2, 6-1 victory on Monday.

The Bulgarian third seed, a semi-finalist at Melbourne Park last year, displayed his full range of skills to oust his Austrian opponent in just 98 minutes on Rod Laver Arena.

The 26-year-old world number three, who finished last season with the biggest win of his career at the ATP Tour finals, hit 21 winners and toyed with his outclassed opponent at times.

Dimitrov sealed victory on his second match point when Novak netted a backhand and will next face another qualifier in either American Mackenzie McDonald or Swede Elias Ymer.

Anderson stunned

Britain’s Kyle Edmund knocked out US Open finalist Kevin Anderson in a five-set thriller at the Australian Open on Monday.

The 49th-ranked Edmund, who lost to 11th seeded Anderson in five sets in the third round at last year’s French Open, toughed out a 6-7 (4/7), 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 win in almost four hours.

It is only the second time he has reached the second round in Melbourne, while South African Anderson, who lost the 2017 Flushing Meadows final to Rafael Nadal, had made the round of 16 in Australia three times.

The victory set Edmund up with a second round encounter with Uzbek journeyman Denis Istomin.

Edmund is the only British man in the main draw after five-times finalist Andy Murray pulled out with a hip injury.

First Published: Jan 15, 2018 16:54 IST