Indian Wells Masters: Marin Čilić Better than Lajović, Moves into 3rd Round

Daniela Rogulj

Croatia’s best tennis player Marin Čilić, who is outside the world’s top 10 for the first time since October 2016, joins Ivo Karlović in the third round of the Masters Series 1000 tournament in Indian Wells, reports HRT on March 11, 2019. 

Marin Čilić, the 11th-seed of the tournament who was free in the first round, defeated Serbian tennis player Dušan Lajović, 45th on the ATP ranking, 6:3, 6:4 on Sunday.

This was the third meeting between Čilić and Lajović and the third victory of the Croatian player. This time, Čilić celebrated after an hour and 33 minutes of play.

At the start of the first set, Čilić took the service of his rival twice and led 4:0. In the eighth game, Čilić missed seven breaks but managed to secure the first set in the next game.

The second set saw a more equal game. Čilić took the service of his rival twice, and Lajović from Čilić once. In the tenth game, the Serbian tennis player had three breaks, but Čilić saved all of them and took advantage of his second match point. 

In the third round, Čilic will play against Canadian player Denis Shapovalov, who defeated American player Steve Johnson 6:3, 6: 4. In their only match so far, Čilić celebrated in Basel in 2018.

In the duel, Čilić won 77 percent of his first-serve points and Lajović only 55 percent.

This was Čilić’s sixth match of 2019 as he had to withdraw from two tournaments this year because of a knee injury. Čilić’s best result in Indian Wells was in 2016 when he reached the quarterfinals.

Ivo Karlović will play his third round match on Monday against Indian tennis player Prajnesh Gunneswaran. This will be the first meeting between the two players. 

Mate Pavić is representing Croatia in the doubles competition with partner Oliver Marach. The two will play in the round of 16 on Tuesday against Mackenzie McDonald and Reilly Opelka. 

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