Cilic overcomes Clement to continue winning streak

Cilic won his 16th match of this year. (DENNIS B MALLARI)

Croatia's Marin Cilic continued his winning ways this year by defeating Arnaud Clement of France 6-2, 6-4 to reach the second round of the Barclays Dubai Tennis Championships on yesterday.

The number six seed has now won 16 matches this year with titles in Chennai and Zagreb, with his only defeat coming against Andy Murray in the semi-finals of the Australian Open. This month he celebrated reaching the world's top 10 for the first time.

It was no surprise then that he put in a solid performance against Clement and didn't face a break point until the final game. He got off to a perfect start by breaking serve to love in the opening game, and then solidified his advantage by breaking again for 5-2 and then serving out the set at love and finishing with an ace.

A Clement double-fault gave Cilic a break for 3-2 in the second set, and he held a further break point to lead 5-2. He failed to take advantage of that opportunity, and Clement then had the chance to extend the match when he held five break points to level at 5-5. But Cilic rose to the challenge, saving three of those break points with aces before finally ending the contest with his seventh ace of the match.

Indian qualifier Somdev Devvarman also reached the second round by overcoming Italian-speaking Swiss Marco Chiudinelli 6-4, 7-5.

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