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Marin Cilic rallies from a break down in the deciding set to oust home favourite Karen Khachanov on Thursday in St. Petersburg.

Cilic Claws Past Khachanov In St. Petersburg

Former World No. 3 will play Bautista Agut in the last eight

Marin Cilic is Croatian, but he is making himself at home in Russia.

The former World No. 3 made the final in Moscow last week, and on Thursday he battled into the quarter-finals in St. Petersburg. Cilic rallied past home favourite Karen Khachanov 6-4, 6-7(1), 6-4 to advance to the last eight.

“It was an amazing match, great level from both sides,” Cilic said in his on-court interview. “Karen played really, really well and on a few occasions [was] just a little bit unlucky. In the third set I was break point up at 1-1, then 40/0 on my game. One or two points here and there [were the difference], but I have to say it was definitely a great match.”

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Khachanov pushed hard to continue his run at home, where he earned a 4-1 lead in the deciding set with his aggressive play. But Cilic stormed back to claim the final five games and with it the match after two hours and 30 minutes.

Cilic won the St. Petersburg title in his most recent appearance at the event in 2011. But with the likes of top seed Andrey Rublev still in the draw, the Croatian is not getting ahead of himself.

“Everybody is playing good. The tournament is great. It’s the end of the season, so everybody wants to finish on a great level,” Cilic said. “For me it was great to play this kind of a match today.”

It will not get any easier in the quarter-finals against third seed Roberto Bautista Agut. The Spanish veteran eliminated American Mackenzie McDonald 6-3, 6-2 in one hour and 19 minutes.

“I love playing here in St. Petersburg. I like this court. I like the conditions. I like the city, also,” Bautista said in his on-court interview. “I’m happy that I won the first match in two sets and [I will] be ready for tomorrow.”

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