Tata Open tennis: Marin Cilic too hot to handle for Pierre-Hugues HerbertJanuary 5, 2018
Top seed Marin Cilic did not break sweat as he despatched Pierre-Hugues Herbert of France in straight sets to seal his place in the semi-finals of the Tata Open Maharashtra ATP 250 Series tournament in Pune on Thursday.
Cilic, who won the Chennai Open twice in 2009 and 2010, remained on course for another title as he gears up for the Australian Open in Melbourne.
Cilic was at his efficient best even though he was playing only his second competitive match of the new season.
He earned early breaks in both sets and despatched Herbert 6-3, 6-2 in just about an hour.
The 6’6” tall Croat bagged a break in the sixth game after earning three break points with a couple of great forehand winners and that was enough as far as the first set was concerned.
He broke Herbert’s service in the very first game with the Frenchman committing a double fault.
He got another break on the seventh game and sealed it with another good service game.
Though he looked like he was at his best, Cilic said that there were still a couple of points that he would like to go better.
“For this match, I concentrated on a couple of things that I was not in my first match. So, I paid attention to a couple of details from the first match… things with which I was not satisfied.
“I just focused on my game and did not think much about my opponent,” said Cilic after the match.
Asked whether he was playing at his best, Cilic said there was still room for improvement.
“I am not a perfectionist but if there is one per cent chance or one shot that could be improved, then I will be working on that,” he added.
The 29-year-old would be one of the favourites at the upcoming Australian Open, considering recent pull-outs by Andy Murray and Kei Nishikori and the doubts over the fitness of Novak Djokovic.
However, Cilic said he would not be thinking on those lines. “You can’t predict the outcome of a tournament like Australia Open or for that matter any tournament. You could be in great form but could still end up losing a match, so I won’t be thinking about that,” he said.
Cilic termed it unfortunate that so many top players were hampered by injuries since the last few months and that was not because of the rigorous format of the ATP Tour.
“It is just a coincidence that so many top players are currently facing injury problems. The tour has been going on in this manner for so many years so it can’t be because of that.
“There are many young players coming up and they pushed the senior players in 2017. So, the Tour is as competitive as ever, “ he added.