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Rediff.com  » Sports » Cilic rallies into Chennai Open last eight

Cilic rallies into Chennai Open last eight

January 03, 2013 20:33 IST

Two-time champion Marin Cilic of Croatia kept his hopes alive, coming from behind to beat Sergiy Stakhovsky of Ukraine 4-6, 6-2, 6-2 and make the quarter-finals of the Aircel Chennai Open ATP tennis tournament, in Chennai, on Thursday.

He needed 110 minutes to see off the challenge of Stakhovsky.

In a doubles match, at the outside court, the German pair of Andre Begemann and Martin Emmrich survived some anxious moments before prevailing over the English duo of Jamie Delgao and Ken Skupski 7-6(1), 6-1 in 64 minutes.

They will meet the winner of the match between Somdev Devvarman/Stakhovsky and Thailand's Sonchat and Sanchai Ratiwatana.

In another match on the outside court, fifth seeded Benoit Paire of France thrashed Israel's Dudi Sela 6-1, 6-0 in just 40 minutes, extracting sweet revenge for last year's defeat.

In Friday's quarter-finals, Paire will take on favourite Cilic.

After being broken in the very first game of the first set, Cilic, who had won the title in 2009 and 2010, dished out flawless tennis in the next two games.

Cilic, ranked No 15 and seeded third here, was defeated by Kei Nishikori of Japan 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 in the quarter-finals in 2011. The Croat did not compete last year.

With his opponent holding on to the service games, Stakhovsky maintained great accuracy and brought his forehand drives into play. The Ukrainian earned two game points with a break in the seventh game.

In the eighth, despite committing two double faults, he managed to win the game.

In the second and third games, though, Cilic was at his best as he relied on the long baseline rallies for points.

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