Croatian tennis star Marin Cilic knew he had to stay focused after losing the second set and remain mentally strong on the court. It took Felix Auger-Aliassime 21 minutes to break Cilic in the eighth game of the second set, before he served out for the set in the following game.
But 2014 US Open champion Cilic prevented Auger-Aliassime from making a big comeback as he won 6-0 3-6 6-3 to reach the Paris Masters second round. "These kind of games can turn the match around, so I had to definitely dig deep.
He won that [marathon] game and won the set, so I just had to recalibrate and come back,” Cilic said after beating Auger-Aliassime, per the ATP website. Cilic insisted he expected Auger-Aliassime to perform much better in the second set despite a horrendous start to the match.
"I started the match by winning the first six games and I was just zoning in on every single ball,” Cilic added. “It was a great start. Obviously, I was expecting that Felix was going to raise his game and he started to play better.
It was a really tight second set, even though it went 6-3 to him… It wasn’t easy. I just felt I served great in the third set, which definitely helped”.
Cilic's fellow compatriot Borna Coric also progressed
15 seed Coric saw off Hungarian Marton Fucsovics 7-6 (5) 6-1 to set up a round two meeting against Australia's Jordan Thompson. "It was not an easy match and every time we have played it's been very tough,” said Coric, in a post-match interview.
"It's always been a very physical match. In the tie-break, I went for my shots that maybe weren't logical, but it paid off. In the second set, I started to play much better and played at quite a high level at the end.
I played one bad game at 2-1 in the first set, when I missed two first serves, but pretty much the rest of the time I was serving huge. I feel like I'm starting to play some good tennis." Meanwhile, rising French star Ugo Humbert edged out Casper Ruud 4-6 6-2 7-6 (1) to claim his maiden main draw win at Bercy.
"It is my first win here in Bercy and I am really happy because it was really tough,” Humbert admitted. “[Casper] is an excellent player and it was physically hard today. I am very happy to win”.