After losing the last three matches on the Tour, the 2016 Basel champion Marin Cilic is back on the winning way with a convincing 6-4 6-2 win over Denis Shapovalov in an hour and 15 minutes. This was their first meeting and Marin did everything right on the court to wrap up the win and reach round two.
The Croat lost just 12 points on serve in nine games and Denis should consider himself lucky for earning one break that kept him for a little bit in the opening set, dropping almost 50% of the points in his games to suffer four breaks from seven chances he gave to Marin.
The 3rd seed had 12 winners and 11 unforced errors, taming his shots nicely and outplaying rival who had more than 20 unforced errors, struggling to find his range in the most of the match. It was a flying start for Marin who fights for the place at the ATP Finals, breaking in the opening game of the match with a forehand winner and securing another break two games later for a 3-0 lead.
Denis saved a break point with a service winner in the fifth game to avoid a complete disaster and that gave him some confidence, pulling one break back in the sixth game and staying in touch with Marin in the rest of the set.
Still, the Croat served well and he secured the opening set with four service winners in the 10th game, forging a 6-4 lead after 41 minutes. Shapovalov sprayed a forehand error at the start of the second set to lose serve at 15 and Marin confirmed the lead with three winners in the second game to move closer to the finish line.
The youngster saved a break point with an ace in the fifth game but he hit a double fault at 2-4 to hand his game to Marin who was now serving for the triumph. A service winner in the eighth game send Marin over the top and he will now face a qualifier Marius Copil for the place in the quarter-final. First round results: