Sixth seed Marin Cilic’s love affair with the VTB Kremlin Cup continued on Friday as he overcame Spaniard Pedro Martinez 6-1, 6-2 to reach the semi-finals in Moscow for the fourth time.
The Croatian triumphed at the ATP 250 event in 2014 and 2015, defeating Roberto Bautista Agut in both finals, before he enjoyed a run to the last four in 2019.
In a dominant performance against Martinez, Cilic fired 15 aces, won 84 per cent (26/31) of his first-serve points and saved the one break point he faced to advance in 63 minutes in their first ATP Head2Head meeting.
“Today was an amazing match from my side, serving and everything was working well,” Cilic said in his on-court interview. “I feel match after match I am playing better and better and it is great. I am enjoying this court and this stadium and thank you to the crowd for the support.”[FOLLOW ACTION]
It is the fourth time Cilic has advanced to a tour-level semi-final this season, having reached this stage in Singapore and Estoril, while he won the title in Stuttgart.
The World No. 41 will next face lucky loser Ricardas Berankis after the Lithuanian moved past Adrian Mannarino 6-2, 7-6(1) after one hour and 58 minutes.
“Ricardas has had a second chance this week as a lucky loser and has played an amazing three matches in the main draw and he is a great player,” Cilic added. “He loves hard courts and loves to play on this surface. It is important for me to keep going like this to push myself day after day to play at this level.”
Berankis, who reached the final in Moscow in 2017, broke the Frenchman’s serve three times to advance to his first tour-level semi-final of the season. The 31-year-old now trails Mannarino 3-4 in their ATP Head2Head series and is chasing his first tour-level title this week.