Marin Cilic snaps four-game losing streak with straight-set win
Former US Open champion Marin Cilic returned to winning ways yesterday, snapping a four-match losing streak dating back to last November with a straight-set win over Taro Daniel, 28, at the Singapore Tennis Open.
The 7-5, 6-4 win over the 120th-ranked Japanese at the OCBC Arena was the former world No. 3's first since he beat 72-ranked Corentin Moutet at the Paris Masters.
Cilic, who is now ranked 44th in the world, has had a difficult couple of years.
The former Wimbledon and Australian Open finalist has suffered first-round exits at the last two Grand Slams. Since the start of last year, he has amassed 15 wins and 14 losses.
But there were glimpses of the vintage Cilic yesterday. Said the 32-year-old Croat: "It's beginning of the season, my third match in the year, so obviously feeling a little bit rusty.
"It was a little bit unusual to play in the beginning, the lights were not as bright, so I felt I was missing the ball several times in the beginning of the first set...
"But later I adjusted to it and was OK. I felt I served well when I needed to. Obviously, it was a big, crucial game at 4-4 in the second set. It was a long game, a lot of long rallies.
"I played that game really well on the return, made all the returns back in the court, so that was a job well done."
Cilic, who last won a tournament in June 2018, said despite losing his first two matches of the year, he felt "really good in practice".
He said: "I felt I had quite a good pre-season and just when you come on the match court, things are a little bit different. The decision-making, also adjusting to some situations... adjusting to the opponent and just playing your own game."
Next up for Cilic in the quarter-finals will be the winner of today's clash between Kwon Soon-woo and Yasutaka Uchiyama.
The winner of that last-eight match will get to play in front of a crowd after tournament organisers announced that 250 fans will be allowed into the OCBC Arena for this weekend's semi-finals and final. The Singapore Tennis Open has been played behind closed doors.
Organisers said tickets priced at $61 would be available via Sistic from 6pm yesterday.
Spectators, who have to be above six years old, will be required to take an antigen rapid test at the Sports Hub Visitor Centre before entering the venue. The cost of the test is covered in the ticket price.