Tokyo - Marin Cilic advanced to the second round of the
Rakuten Japan Open with a 6-0, 4-6, 6-3 win Monday over last year's finalist
The fourth-seeded Cilic had five aces on his way to securing
the opening set in only 20 minutes at Ariake Colosseum.
Paire broke the Croatian only once, in the seventh game of
the second set. The Frenchman then saved five breakpoints to take a 5-3 lead
and forced a deciding third set.
Cilic regained control with a decisive break in the sixth
game of the third. Paire saved two match points in the ninth game before Cilic
served it out.
He'll meet either Japanese qualifier Go Soeda or Fernando
Verdasco of Spain in the second round.
Joao Sousa earlier rallied to beat Martin Klizan 4-6, 6-3,
6-3 to move into a second-round match against either top-seeded Kei Nishikori
or American Donald Young.
Nishikori had been scheduled to open against Nicolas
Almagro, but the Spanish player withdrew because of illness.