© Adam Pretty/Getty Images

Ninth seed Marin Cilic, the 2018 semi-finalist, saves four of six break points to beat Andrea Basso in Rome on Tuesday.

Cilic Battles Basso, Home Crowd For Win In Rome

Last year's semi-finalist to play Struff

Marin Cilic didn’t have things all his own way at the Internazionali BNL d'Italia when Andrea Basso and the home crowd ensured it was far from easy.

In a match featuring seven breaks of serve, ninth seed Cilic recovered from a 0-2 deficit in the first set and a second-set comeback from 25-year-old Basso, making his ATP Tour debut, for a 6-1, 7-5 first-round victory over one hour and 39 minutes.

Watch Live

The Croatian, who has recovered from food poisoning that prohibited him from competing in the Mutua Madrid Open quarter-finals against Novak Djokovic, tightened up his game at 5-5 in the second set, returning with depth to break Basso en route to his eighth win in 14 matches this season. Last year's Rome semi-finalist will now prepare to meet Jan-Lennard Struff of Germany.

Struff didn’t strike any of his 17 aces in the third set, but recovered from 1-3 down in the decider to overcome 2014 semi-finalist Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria 6-4, 6-7(5), 6-3 in two hours. Struff won 25 of 25 first-service points in the second set, which turned at 3/2 in the tie-break in Dimitrov’s favour. Last month, Dimitrov beat Struff 7-6(2), 6-4 in the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters second round.

You May Also Like: Five Things To Know About Struff

Earlier in the day, Moldova’s Radu Albot knocked out Benoit Paire of France 6-3, 6-2 in 87 minutes for a meeting against Italian No. 10 seed Fabio Fognini at the Foro Italico. Albot’s best performance in his seven previous ATP Masters 1000 tournament appearances came in March at the BNP Paribas Open, where he advanced to the third round (l. to Edmund).

More stories like this in: