Tennis-Cilic beats Russian second seed Medvedev to set up Rublev clash

By Sudipto Ganguly

PARIS (Reuters) – Croatian Marin Cilic made no mistake when he crushed Russian world number two Daniil Medvedev 6-2 6-3 6-2 in a lopsided match on Monday to return to the French Open quarter-final after a gap of four years.

The 2014 US Open champion, seeded 20, dominated early on and finished the contest in an hour and 45 minutes to reach the final eight stages on clay in Paris for the third time in his career. .

Medvedev came into the match having won all three previous encounters against the 33-year-old Croatian, but cut a sad figure in the spotlight at Court Philippe Chatrier in their first match on clay.

“It was an absolutely fantastic match from the first point to the last,” Cilic said during his on-pitch interview.

“I enjoyed the vibe, enjoyed the night session here, played amazing tennis, one of the best games of my career from start to finish.”

The Croatian’s dominance was such that he didn’t face a break point and will then meet fellow seventh-seeded Russian Andrey Rublev for a place in the semi-finals.

Cilic played aggressively, pinning Medvedev behind the baseline and advancing towards the net at every opportunity as the Russian failed to find any zing behind his flat groundstrokes in the cooler night conditions.

Unable to come up with a solution to Cilic’s precise winners, Medvedev continued to shake his head and also vented his frustration on the chair umpire over what he considered very little time to rest during the substitutions.

Medvedev’s form on the night was more reminiscent of his four consecutive first-round outings at Roland Garros before advancing to the quarter-finals last year.

Cilic won four straight games 2-2 to take the first set in 31 minutes and another break in game six was enough for him to win the second set.

Australian Open runner-up Medvedev, who won the 2021 US Open, then took a long bathroom break but served a double fault on his first point after returning to court.

Another double fault in that opener led to Medvedev getting broken.

The 26-year-old’s problems with double faults and unforced errors continued as Cilic broke him again to take a 4-0 lead in the third set.

There was no turning back for Medvedev, who briefly became world number one earlier this year, and Cilic converted his second match point when the Russian found the net with a backhand return.

“When I’m playing my best tennis, everything works, from serve, return, movement. The last 10-15 days have been great for me – great training, great games, very consistent tennis,” Cilic added. .

“Against guys like Daniil you have to be able to maintain that high level throughout the game and if you give him a chance he’s going to come back. So I was really focused to keep going and really extremely happy with that.”

(Reporting by Sudipto Ganguly; Editing by Ken Ferris)

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