MOSCOW (AFP) – US Open champion Marin Cilic battled into the Kremlin Cup quarterfinals with a tough three-set win over Russian wild card Evgeny Donskoy on Wednesday.
The 26-year-old Croat, a career-high eighth in the ATP rankings, beat Donskoy 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 to keep alive his chances of making it into the season-ending ATP World Tour Finals in London.
Second-seed Cilic, sixth in the race to London and needs to reach the final at this combined ATP and WTA event to increase his tally, broke his rival’s serve early for a one-set lead in 40 minutes.
But in the second Donskoy also broke and kept his advantage through to level at one set all after one hour 16 minutes on court.
The rivals traded breaks early in the deciding set before big server Cilic produced the decisive break in the sixth game to take the set and the match in one hour 52 minutes.
Seventh seed Mikhail Youzhny of Russia, the 2009 winner here, cruised comfortably into the second round past a compatriot qualifier Victor Baluda with a 6-3, 6-4 win.