Cilic defeats Tsonga to reach Miami quarter-finals, plays Murray next

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Marin Cilic advanced in straight sets, whilst Richard Gasquet reached Miami Masters quarterfinals after turning around an exciting three-setter against Almagro.

Sixth seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga might have been a slight favorite in this one, yet ninth-seeded Croat Cilic confirmed his good Miami form by edging out the fourth round opponent in both of the very tight sets. He is now leading the head-to-head series 2-1. Cilic’s service game left nothing to be desired in the opening set where he tested the Frenchman in the second game, but the latter fended off three break point opportunities to prevent an early loss of serve. A series of more or less confident holds followed up until 6-5 when Tsonga served to take the set to a tie-breaker. The Croat would not let it happen though as he created a couple of break balls and moved one set up after converting the second one. In the following set the athletes dropped a serve each by 2-2 before squaring off in the breaker. The Frenchman would always be on the back foot in the thirteenth game, allowing the rival to close out the match with a 7-5, 7-6 (4) final result. Cilic will challenge Andy Murray next.

The Miami crowd witnessed a heavy battle for the quarterfinal ticket, featuring eight seed Frenchman Gasquet and tenth-seeded Nicolas Almagro of Spain. Gasquet built a two break lead at the beginning of the first set, yet the Spaniard fought valiantly to level the score at 4-4 and rescue a couple of set balls at 5-4 before going one nil up after grabbing a tie-break. The Frenchman’s spirit was not broken though and he patiently waited to seize his opponent’s serve in the set number two. He did so in the eleventh game and he confirmed the break to make it one set between them.

The final set would be as close as the previous two. Almagro gave away a serve in the seventh game, yet he pegged right back and the winner of the fourth round mini-marathon would be decided in a tie-break. Gasquet opened it with a four straight points run, thus paving his way to a 6-7 (3), 7-5, 7-6 (3) triumph just as the match was approaching the three hour mark. The Spaniard blasted 19 aces and conceded 9 double faults, while Gasquet ended the clash with 17 aces and 3 double faults in his statistics. He will be eager to upset Tomas Berdych in Miami quarterfinals.

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