World No 3 Cilic crashes out in third round

New Straits Times - - SPORT -

JUAN Martin Del Potro con­tin­ued his dom­i­nance over David Fer­rer to book a spot in the In­dian Wells fourth round as sec­ond seed Marin Cilic suf­fered a shock loss.

World No 8 Del Potro ex­tended his win streak over the Spa­niard to five straight matches, win­ning 6-4, 7-6 (7-3) at the ATP Tour hard­court tour­na­ment on Tues­day.

The 29-year-old Del Potro im­proved to 7-6 over­all against Fer­rer and his five con­sec­u­tive vic­to­ries date back to the 2013 Wim­ble­don quar­ter-fi­nals.

“We al­ways play tough matches. I got lucky,” said Del Potro. “I played re­ally well in the tiebreak and served well in the im­por­tant mo­ments.”

Del Potro faced fel­low Ar­gen­tinian Leonardo Mayer, who de­feated Ja­panese qual­i­fier Taro Daniel 6-4, 6-1, late yes­ter­day.

Del Potro is play­ing some of his best ten­nis in years as he im­proved to 13-3 on the sea­son. In Jan­uary he re­turned the top 10 for the first time since 2014.

He is fresh off win­ning his 21st ca­reer ti­tle ear­lier this month in Aca­pulco when he steam­rolled his way into the fi­nal by beat­ing three top 10 play­ers in a row.

He capped off his Aca­pulco run by beat­ing South Africa’s Kevin An­der­son 6-4, 6-4 in the cham­pi­onship game.

Del Potro, the 2013 In­dian Wells fi­nal­ist, ham­mered six aces and won 87 per cent of his first-serve points in the one hour, 46 minute match against Fer­rer.

He says he is ea­ger to get back to the fi­nal and lift the tro­phy in the Cal­i­for­nia desert.

“It is one of my dreams to win this ti­tle. I have been in the fi­nal and the semis but I have never held the tro­phy,” he said.

Else­where, World No 3 Cilic be­came another top seed ca­su­alty, los­ing in straight sets to Ger­many’s Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-4, 6-4.

The 29-year-old Cilic, who reached the fi­nals of two of the last three Grand Slams, dropped to a record of 10-4 on the sea­son.

Kohlschreiber played un­seeded Pierre-Hugues Her­bert who won his third round match when fel­low French­man Gael Mon­fils re­tired in the sec­ond set with a lower back in­jury, late yes­ter­day.

Cilic blasted five aces but couldn’t over­come Kohlschreiber ’s strong serv­ing game. The Ger­man won 76 per cent of his first serve points and broke Cilic’s serve twice, once in each set.

In other third round matches, Cana­dian No 1 Mi­los Raonic beat Por­tu­gal’s Joao Sousa 7-5, 4-6, 62 and Sam Quer­rey of the United States ral­lied to out­last Yuki Bham­bri 6-7 (4-7), 6-4, 6-4.

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