Across his 11 previous appearances at the Miami Open presented by Itau, Marin Cilic has played many memorable matches and struck countless winners. But in his first-round match on Thursday, the Croatian added a new shot to his repertoire in his 6-3, 2-6, 6-4 victory against Federico Coria.
The former World No. 3 claimed three service breaks to improve to 12-11 at the event after two hours and three minutes. The first of those breaks came in extraordinary fashion, as he mishit an attempted overhead for a drop shot winner.
Cilic, who reached the 2013 Miami semi-finals, won 100 per cent of his first-serve points in the decider (16/16) to book a second-round meeting against 13th seed Cristian Garin. In his only previous ATP Head2Head match against Garin, the Croatian earned a 6-1, 7-6(5) win at the 2019 Cinch Championships.
“Federico played solid,” said Cilic. “He is retrieving a lot of balls back and [he is] a good grinder behind the court. It was important for me to keep my head down, keep the focus and just try to get the best level I could today.”
Another former top five player was unable to advance Thursday. Lucky loser Damir Dzumhur eliminated Kevin Anderson 7-6(6), 7-5 after one hour and 57 minutes.
“I know that my game can be much better than what I’m showing right now and my position in the [FedEx] ATP Rankings can be much better,” Dzumhur said. “This win means a lot to me and I hope that this is going to give me enough confidence to continue playing good and to make some good results in the next tournaments.”
The World No. 126, who lost in the final round of qualifying against Alejandro Tabilo, will take a 3-1 ATP Head2Head series lead into his clash against second seed Stefanos Tsitsipas.
“I’m going to try to keep going that way. Stefanos is improving his game so much every week,” Dzumhur said. “He’s one of the best players in the world right now and he’s definitely one of the young generation who can come to No. 1.”