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Cilic makes winning start in Chennai Open tennis

Tuesday, January 6, 2009 , Posted by Linda at 10:46 AM

CHENNAI, India (AFP) – Third-seed Marin Cilic of Croatia entered the second round of the 450,000-dollar ATP Chennai Open with a straight-sets win over Alberto Martin of Spain on Monday.

Cilic makes winning start in Chennai Open tennis AFP – Croatian tennis player Marin Cilic plays a return against his Spanish opponent Alberto Matin at The ATP

The 20-year-old Cilic, ranked 27th in the world, began the new season on a fluent note as he cruised to a 6-4, 6-4 win in the opening match of India's biggest tennis event.

"It is nice to get the first match of the year out of the way," said Cilic, a semi-finalist here last year before losing to eventual winner Mikhail Youzhny of Russia.

"It was good to break early in both sets because he had to catch up after that, and that made it a bit easier for me.

"I am not thinking about winning the tournament yet, just concentrating on my next match. But the aim for the year is to do well in the Grand Slams."

Fifth-seeded Rainer Schuettler faced a tougher challenge from Indian wildcard Prakash Amritraj before the German won 6-2, 4-6, 6-1 in an hour and 25 minutes.

Amritraj, whose US citizenship makes him ineligible to represent India in the Davis Cup and the Olympics following a recent government directive, delighted local fans by taking the second set.

But Schuettler, ranked 33rd in the world, ran away with the third set as the 206th-ranked Amritraj struggled with his first serves in humid weather.

"I am not in a position to comment on the Indian government's decision," said Amritraj, 25, who is allowed by the International Tennis Federation to represent India on the circuit.

"I just want to focus on my game and see I do well in any match I play."

Schuettler's second-round opponent will be Simon Greul of Germany, who defeated Spaniard Daniel Gimeno-Traver 6-3, 6-4.

In another match, Bjorn Phau of Germany outlasted Santiago Ventura of Spain 6-2, 7-5.

The top two seeds, world number five Nikolay Davydenko of Russia and 16th-ranked Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland, will play their first round matches on Tuesday.

Also in action on Tuesday will be fourth-seeded Ivo Karlovic of Croatia, Spanish veteran Carlos Moya, who won the title in 2004 and 2005, and seventh- seed Janko Tipsarevic of Serbia.

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