ATP Rio: Cilic makes a strong start. Fognini and Verdasco reach round two

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ATP Rio: Cilic makes a strong start. Fognini and Verdasco reach round two

World number 3 and Australian Open runner-up Marin Cilic notched his ninth win of the season with a 6-3 6-2 victory against a qualifier Carlos Berlocq in an hour and 19 minutes. Marin saved three break points in the opening game of the match and he never faced problems on serve again, keeping the pressure on the other side of the net.

35-year-old Berlocq served at 76% but he failed to defend his second serve better and he lost his serve three times from five break points he offered to Marin. The Croat was off to a slow start but he fired three winners to fend off those break points and bring the opening game home with a smash winner.

Berlocq saved two break points in the second game and he fought well in the following five games, showing his clay court skills to stay on the same level with a much better-raked opponent. Still, Marin found the way to break in game eight, placing a forehand winner into an empty side of the court to move 5-3 ahead.

He sealed the set with a hold in game nine after 46 minutes and he played even better in set number two, losing five points on serve and breaking Carlos twice to secure the win in straight sets. A volley winner sent Cilic in front in game three and he got another break in game seven when Carlos failed to control a forehand.

Marin completed his win with a hold in game eight and he will face Gael Monfils or Horacio Zeballos in round two. Young Chilean Nicolas Jarry scored already his fourth win in the ATP tournaments in 2018, beating Guillermo Garcia-Lopez 6-3 7-6 in an hour and 38 minutes, setting the second round meeting with the 4th seed Albert Ramos-Vinolas. It was a very tight match and Nicolas built the advantage with a better performance on his second serve, saving all four break points he faced and taking rival's serve once from five opportunities.

Experienced Spaniard saved two break points with service winners in game two and he created one on his own in game five, only to be denied with a forehand winner from Nicolas. The eight game proved to be pivotal for the opening set, Jary broke when his rival sent a forehand long and he claimed the set with three winners in game nine for a 6-3.

Both players served well in the opening eight games of set number two to be locked up at 4-4 before Jarry missed an easy backhand slice that could give him a break in game nine. This wasted opportunity made him a little bit insecure and he had to play against three set points on serve in the 10th game.

He repelled them with a big serve and two giant forehands that gave him his confidence back and he kept the pressure on his rival in the tie break. They traded mini-breaks in the opening two points and Jarry got another one in the fourth point to move 3-1 in front after a forehand error from Garcia-Lopez.

The Chilean played well on his serve and he secured the win with another mini-break in the ninth point, sealing the deal with a service winner in the following point for his first ATP 500 win in a career. First round results:


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