Two-time VTB Kremlin Cup champion Marin Cilic began his campaign for his third title in Moscow on Monday, moving past Bosnian qualifier Damir Dzumhur 6-7(4), 6-1, 6-1 to reach the second round.
The Croatian, who triumphed at the ATP 250 event in 2014 and 2015, won 12 of the last 13 games as he rallied to advance after one hour and 51 minutes and improve to 2-0 against Dzumhur in their ATP Head2Head series.
“It always feels great [to be here],” Cilic said in his on-court interview. “It is always a pleasure and it is great to see a nice crowd here. I know that Damir always enjoys these conditions where the court is a bit slower and the ball stays a bit lower, so I was having a little bit of difficulty on his serve in the first set.”[FOLLOW ACTION]
With his victory, the sixth seed has snapped a three-match losing streak. Cilic will next face American Tommy Paul or Winston-Salem finalist Mikael Ymer in the second round.
“In the second set I found a better rhythm and started to play great tennis and then the third set was really high quality and I could not be happier,” Cilic added.
Cilic won his 19th tour-level title when he downed #NextGenATP Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime in Stuttgart in June and has advanced to semi-finals in Singapore and Estoril this season.
John Millman also advanced after the Australian overcame Frenchman Benjamin Bonzi 6-7(5), 6-4, 6-3 in two hours and 35 minutes. The 32-year-old is making his debut in Moscow and will next meet fifth seed Alexander Bublik or Ukrainian qualifier Illya Marchenko.