Nadal, Cilic storm into Chennai quarters

Chennai, Fri, 04 Jan 2008 NI Wire

Jan 04:  World No. 2 and tournament's top-seed Spaniard Rafael Nadal crushed Rajeev Ram of U.S. in the second round to storm into the quarters of the Chennai Open ATP tournament played at the SDAT Stadium here on Thursday.

Nadal trounced Rajeev 6-2, 6-1 to make it to the last four stage, where he will play compatriot Guillermo Garcia-Lopez, who rallied to upset seventh-seeded Austrian Werner Eschauer 4-6, 7-5, 7-6 (3).

"The scoreline makes it look easy out there, but the strong wind made it very tricky and hard to play consistent tennis," the Spaniard said.

"I am glad I came through. This is the first week of the season and I am trying to get into form. I am not looking at winning the title yet," added Nadal.

The 19-year-old also Croatian Marin Cilic advanced to the quarters, the youngest player ranked among the ATP Tour's top 100 in 2007, score an upset 6-2, 6-4 win over fifth-seeded Nicolas Mahut of France.

Cilic will meet Dutch Robin Haase in Friday's quarterfinal, who overcame Croatian qualifier Lovro Zovko 6-1, 7-5. The 71st-ranked Cilic had two break-points in each set against Mahut, the 45th-ranked player who pulled off a break at the start of the second set before Cilic clawed back to seize the advantage.

Former junior French Open champion, Cilic, said his goal for 2008 was to break into the top 40.

"In 2007, I was trying to get into the top 100 the whole year and finally managed to do so. Now, I have started well in the first week," said Cilic.

The early exits of Mahut and Eschauer meant five of the eight seeded players were out before the last four stages. Seeded number two Marcos Baghdatis, Jurgen Melzer (sixth) and Marc Gicquel (eighth) departed earlier.

RESULTS

Singles (second round): Rafael Nadal (Esp) bt Rajeev Ram (U.S.) 6-2, 6-1; Marin Cilic (Cro) bt Nicolas Mahut (Fra) 6-2, 6-4; Guillermo Garcia-Lopez (Esp) bt Werner Eschauer (Aut) 4-6, 7-5, 7-6(3); Robin Haase (Ned) bt Lovro Zovko (Cro) 6-1, 7-5.

Doubles (second round): Marcos Baghdatis (Cyp) / Marc Gicquel (Fra) bt Yves Allegro (Sui) / Nicolas Mahut (Fra) 6-2, 6-2; Jurgen Melzer (Aut) / Alexander Peya (Aut) bt Eschauer / D. Gremelmayr 6-4, 6-1; Sanchai / Sonchat Ratiwatana (Tha) bt Alexandre Kudryavtsev / Mikhail Youzhny (Rus) 6-4, 7-5.



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