Cilic battles past qualifier Hurkacz

Marin Cilic

Third seed Marin Cilic was made to work mighty hard by Polish qualifier Hubert Hurkacz at Roland Garros on Thursday.

The Croat booked his place in the third round, but only after grinding out a tough 6-2, 6-2, 6-7 (3/7), 7-5 victory over an opponent ranked 188th in the world.

Cilic was often his own worst enemy. While he hit twice as many winners as Hurkacz with 48, he also made a whopping 52 unforced errors – six more than his opponent.

That error count prevented Cilic from wrapping up the match with ease, despite having won the first two sets reasonably comfortably.

The third set was a real struggle for the former US Open champion, who lost it in a tie-break, but Cilic finally broke Hurkacz’s resolve in a marathon game late in the fourth set.

With the scores locked at 5-5, Cilic wasted four break point opportunities before finally clinching the fifth to take a 6-5 lead.

With Cilic serving for the match, Hurkacz earned a break point to prolong the contest even further, but Cilic saved it before going on to seal victory with his first match point.

Next up for Cilic is American Steve Johnson, who beat Jan-Lennard Struff 4-6, 7-6 (7-5), 6-2, 6-2.

Also advancing on Thursday afternoon was seventh seed Dominic Thiem, the man who broke Nadal’s incredible clay-court winning streak in Madrid earlier this month.

Thiem was forced to return in the morning after his match against Stefanos Tsitsipas was suspended due to bad light on Wednesday night.

The Austrian was leading two-sets-to-one when play was called off and wasted little time in finishing the job the following morning, wrapping up a 6-2, 2-6, 6-4, 6-4 victory courtesy of a single break in the fourth set.

Next up for him is unseeded Italian Matteo Berrettini.