Karatsev Edges Into Pune QFs In Two TBs

Top seed Cilic through; Bonzi, Martinez knock off seeds
January 04, 2023
Aslan Karastev improves to 2-0 on the new ATP Tour season. By ATP Staff

Aslan Karatsev has yet to drop a set in the 2023 ATP Tour season, but he had to save three set points on Wednesday at the Tata Open Maharashtra to maintain that perfect record. After erasing one in the opening set of a 7-6(7), 7-6(8) victory against Tim van Rijthoven, the eighth seed fought off two more in set two to advance to the quarter-finals at the ATP 250.

Karatsev broke serve for the first time on his sixth break point of the match midway through set two, but then dropped serve from 40/0 as van Rijthoven created his first chances on return. After Karatsev failed to convert two match points on return at 5-4 — his seventh and eighth break points of the contest — he closed out the match in an extended tie-break on his fourth opportunity. 

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Next up for the 29-year-old is Spain's Pedro Martinez, who came from behind to upset fourth seed Sebastian Baez 3-6, 6-1, 6-3. France's Benjamin Bonzi also scored an upset on Wednesday, knocking off third seed and returning finalist Emil Ruusuvuori 6-1, 7-6(4).

Top seed Marin Cilic made a winning start to the new season with a 6-3, 3-6, 6-1 win against Roberto Carballes Baena. The Croatian, seeking his third Pune title after back-to-back triumphs in 2009-10, fired 16 aces and won more than 80 per cent of points on first serve. He will next face Tallon Griekspoor for a place in the semi-finals.

"For me the match was really good, a good level," Cilic said. "First set was good tennis. Roberto made a break in the second, played good. He's very solid... He played quite well, and what a way to finish the match, a great third set and I just played some really good tennis there."

Speaking about the significance of winning his first match of the season, he added: "It's always important, it gives you a little bit more positives after coming through the offseason, working hard, practising. But it's not the same when you come on the court so it feels good, and I'm looking forward to continuing that positivity."

Second seed Botic van de Zandschulp also got off the mark with a 7-5, 6-4 win against Flavio Cobolli, while sixth seed Filip Krajinovic outlasted Michael Mmoh 2-6, 6-3, 6-4.

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