There were no shocks at the Stuttgart Open on Tuesday as Marin Cilic and both seeds advanced.

The grass-court swing got under way with four main-draw matches but little drama in Germany.

One-time Wimbledon finalist Cilic staved off the only two break points he faced against wildcard Rudolf Molleker and seized all five opportunities of his own.

A 7-5 6-3 win was enough to set up a second-round meeting with fifth seed Nikoloz Basilashvili, who beat Dustin Brown in the top half of the draw.

The defeated pair were the only home hopefuls in action, while number six seed Ugo Humbert and Lloyd Harris each also progressed.

Roger Federer produced his best display of the year to defeat Marin Cilic in four sets in the second round of the French Open.

The 20-time grand slam singles champion overcame frustrations with the umpire and the powerful resilience of his opponent to win 6-2 2-6 7-6 (7-4) 6-2 on Thursday.

The Swiss great holds an 11-1 lead in their head-to-head record, that one defeat coming back in the US Open semi-finals in 2014 when Cilic went on to lift the trophy, and it seemed as though Federer had their latest contest on his racquet early on.

He raced into a 5-1 lead in the first set before closing it out in just 31 minutes, the crowd left stunned when the eighth seed stretched up to produce a remarkable drop-shot return winner.

Matters became trickier in the second set as Cilic went 3-0 ahead and only some precise serve-and-forehand work from Federer prevented the double break.

A curious moment occurred with Cilic leading 3-1 when Federer was issued a time violation when receiving serve at deuce. A bemused Federer spoke at length with the umpire before calling to Cilic, "Am I playing too slow?".

Although far from descending into a shouting match, the incident seemed to throw off Federer, who gifted the set to Cilic with two forehand errors and looked unsettled until he refocused with a ripped backhand winner in the opening game of the third.

Cilic forced the tie-break after Federer had spurned an easy chance for a double break, but a double fault from the world number 47 handed the initiative to his rival, who by this time looked imperious on serve and in control from the baseline.

An ace on his first set point wrapped up the breaker and another Cilic double fault saw him fall a break behind in the fourth. This time, Federer did not allow a sniff of a comeback.

Data Slam: Federer back in the groove with clinical display

More accustomed to facing Cilic in the later stages of majors – he has beaten the Croatian in Wimbledon and Australian Open finals – Federer nonetheless needed to find something close to his best tennis after allowing early control to slip away in only his fourth match since returning after knee surgery.

The 39-year-old fired down 16 aces to one double fault and 47 winners to just 27 unforced errors. As Cilic said before the contest: "No matter the age, Roger has the formula."

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS
Cilic – 43/44
Federer – 47/27

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS
Cilic – 12/6
Federer – 16/1

BREAK POINTS WON
Cilic – 3/8
Federer – 5/16

Roger Federer is enjoying the "whole rhythm thing" of playing at a grand slam again but admits he has no idea what he is capable of achieving at the French Open.

The Swiss looked sharp in his first-round match on Monday against Uzbekistan's Denis Istomin, posting a 6-2 6-4 6-3 win – coming through his first match at a major since the 2020 Australian Open and subsequent knee surgery.

It was partly his prowess but perhaps also the shortcomings of Istomin's performance that allowed 2009 champion Federer to put on a show on Court Philippe Chatrier, setting up a clash with a familiar foe in Marin Cilic next.

Federer and Cilic will be going head to head for an 11th time – Federer leads the series 9-1 – and for the first time since the 2018 Australian Open final, which went the way of Basle's 20-time grand slam winner in five sets.

It will be their sixth clash in a slam and at the earliest stage they have encountered each other at a major, with those past tussles also including the 2017 Wimbledon final, when an injury-hampered Cilic lost in straight sets.

Federer spoke after beating Istomin of how it is difficult to gauge what he might go on to manage at Roland Garros.

"In a way, I like this situation, that I don't know what's next, how my next match will be. I don't even know who I play, to be honest," Federer said.

"I take it round by round, match by match. I think it's going to help me, with the way I go about it. I'm very happy I won today. It gives me a chance again to test myself on Thursday, I believe. I don't know when I'm playing.

"So see how I feel tomorrow morning. Just all these things going through practice, coming to the site, seeing people, just this whole rhythm thing.

"It's nice to be back in it."

Federer is in Paris without his family due to COVID-19 restrictions and worries it will be the same story at Wimbledon.

But he added: "We signed up for it. I didn't do rehab to then sit at home again. There's a lot to look forward to."

MEDVEDEV WINS AT LAST

Daniil Medvedev's status as the second seed in Paris was the factor that made it possible for Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal to be drawn in the same half of the draw, which is what transpired.

There is an element of farce about Medvedev being seeded above 13-time Roland Garros champion Nadal, because the Russian has gone out in the first round in each of his previous visits to the clay-court slam.

However, on Monday, the world number two made a breakthrough, winning well in a match where he was expected to run into trouble as he earned a 6-3 6-3 7-5 victory over Kazakhstan's Alexander Bublik.

"It doesn't feel different than the Australian Open for me coming into this tournament. Now when I'm coming to these big tournaments feeling like this, I know I'm capable of doing big things," Medvedev said.

"If I lose here in Roland Garros it's probably going to be because my opponent will play really good."

NEXTGEN MAKE EARLY IMPACT

David Goffin, the Belgian 13th seed, lost 6-0 7-5 7-6 (7-3) to 19-year-old Italian Lorenzo Musetti, and it was a day when the sight of 39-year-old Federer turning on the style was balanced by the inspiring sight of the next generation showing their potential.

Musetti's fellow Italian Jannik Sinner is also 19 and is the 18th seed, showing on Monday he has the fight to come through tough battles, rallying from two sets to one down to beat experienced French player Pierre-Hugues Herbert 6-1 4-6 6-7 (4-7) 7-5 6-4.

It was the first time Sinner had won a deciding set in a best-of-five match.

Sinner, Musetti and Spain's Carlos Alcaraz could all be major factors at Roland Garros in future years.

Alcaraz, who turned 18 in early May, followed up his run through qualifying and to the second round of the Australian Open by doing the same in the French capital.

He dropped only 11 games in winning three best-of-three-set qualifiers last week and was too strong for his 24-year-old compatriot Bernabe Zapata Miralles, snatching a 6-3 2-6 6-1 7-6 (7-4) win for a first senior win at Roland Garros.

"I think the mental game is really, really important in this kind of matches," Alcaraz said. "You have to be focused and calm all the match, like three hours and 10 minutes.

"It's really important and not easy to do. In the match I trusted a lot in my physical side. I could play really, really good game during the whole match."

Jan-Lennard Struff is through to his first final on the ATP Tour after ending Ilya Ivashka's impressive run at the BMW Open in Munich.

Struff had lost in his previous seven semi-final appearances and it appeared the streak may continue when he quickly fell 3-0 behind against his opponent from Belarus.

However, qualifier Ivashka – who had knocked out top seed Alexander Zverev in the previous round – only managed to win two more games in the remainder of a contest that spanned 87 minutes.

A 6-4 6-1 win for Struff sets up a showdown with Nikoloz Basilashvili, who crushed Casper Ruud 6-1 6-2 to progress through from the other half of the draw.

"I am happy to have reached my first final on home soil in Germany and I will try my best tomorrow," seventh seed Struff said after Saturday's match.

Both Basilashvili and Ruud had completed their quarter-final ties earlier on Saturday, but it was the former who coped better with a quick return to action on the clay court, easing to victory in 71 minutes.

At the Estoril Open, Cameron Norrie moved a step closer to a first ATP title after withstanding a barrage of aces to overcome the big-serving Marin Cilic in two sets.

Norrie managed to save five of the six break-point opportunities on his own serve as he eventually prevailed 7-6 (7-5) 7-5. His only previous experience of a final on the ATP Tour came back in 2019, when he lost to Tennys Sandgren at the ASB Classic in Auckland.

"[Marin] was serving great and it was really tricky to get his first serve back. I am fortunate to get through and I am just happy to be in my second final," the Briton said in his on-court interview.

Albert Ramos-Vinolas is the last player standing in his way, the Spaniard battling back after losing his serve in both sets to beat compatriot Alejandro Davidovich Fokina 6-1 6-4.

Two-time BMW Open champion Alexander Zverev is hoping to enjoy further success in Munich after shaking off the rust in his opener on Wednesday.

Zverev has been managing an elbow injury and had only played three times since mid-March, swiftly departing Masters 1000 events in Miami and Monte-Carlo.

But the German is back in familiar territory on home soil and made light work of lucky loser Ricardas Berankis.

Zverev, who won the tournament in 2017 and 2018, needed just 87 minutes to claim a 6-2 6-4 victory.

"I haven't played much tennis the past few weeks, so I know I'll need to improve for the next match," he said.

"I've had success in the past and I feel good here. I've played well in the practice and hopefully I can do better on the match court."

Fellow seeds Casper Ruud and John Millman each also advanced, albeit the latter only when Guido Pella retired after the Argentine won the first set 6-4 and was 2-0 down in the second.

At the Estoril Open, Marin Cilic and Kevin Anderson will face off in an enticing quarter-final.

One-time US Open champion Cilic has a 6-1 career lead over Anderson, who has fallen to 105th in the world.

Cilic came from behind to beat Nuno Borges 6-7 (5-7) 6-4 6-4, while Anderson defeated Roberto Carballes Baena in straight sets.

David Goffin made an encouraging start to the Monte Carlo Masters as he beat Marin Cilic, though Jordan Thompson found things much harder against Benoit Paire.

World number 14 Goffin had lost his previous three matches heading to Monaco, but the Belgian delivered a sharp performance on Sunday, winning 6-4 3-6 6-0.

Open Sud de France champion Goffin did not start well, and had to come from 3-0 down in the first set, but Cilic made 52 unforced errors to help his opponent progress.

"It’s a good win. [This is my] first tournament on clay [in 2021]. Starting with a victory is good," said 2017 Monte Carlo semi-finalist Goffin, quoted on the ATP website.

"I did what I needed to do to win that match. I was playing better and better. In the first and second set, I had problems with the returns. In the third set, I was more consistent. It was a good match."

Goffin will face Marco Cecchinato or Dominik Koepfer in the second round, where he has been joined by Australian Jordan Thompson.

Thompson, the world number 62, needed three hours and two tie-breaks to beat Paire 6-4 6-7 (3-7) 7-6 (7-5), as the Frenchman's dismal string of results in 2021 continued.

Paire has now won just one of 10 matches this calendar year, while Thompson registered a fifth win of the season.

Stefanos Tsitsipas battled through to the Miami Open round of 16 and he was joined by Andrey Rublev on Monday.

Greek star and second seed Tsitsipas got the better of 2014 US Open runner-up Kei Nishikori in Miami.

Rublev continued his fine 2021 with a straight-sets demolition of Marton Fucsovics at the ATP 1000 tournament.

In-form Aslan Karatsev, however, bowed out following a surprise loss to Sebastian Korda.

 

TSITSIPAS HALTS NISHIKORI

Despite a mid-match wobble, Tsitsipas overcame Nishikori 6-3 3-6 6-1 to reach the fourth round.

Former world number four Nishikori forced a deciding set but Tsitsipas withstood the Japanese's comeback.

Tsitsipas, who hit 32 winners, will meet Lorenzo Sonego for a place in the quarter-finals after the 24th seed defeated Daniel Elahi Galan 7-6 (8-6) 6-3.

 

RUBLEV STAYS HOT

Russian fourth seed Rublev made light work of Fucsovics 6-2 6-1 in just 52 minutes.

Rublev leads the ATP Tour with 18 victories this season after eliminating the in-form Hungarian, ahead of top seed Daniil Medvedev (16-2).

The result secured a third win for Rublev over 29th seed Fucsovics this month.

"I was laughing, because of [the] situation and plus Marton also told me, 'I don't want to see you. I don't want to see you'," Rublev said, cracking a laugh. "[It was] just a situation that [was] fun, and I feel sorry."

Awaiting Rublev is 2014 US Open champion and former world number three Marin Cilic, who beat Lorenzo Musetti 6-3 6-4.

 

KARATSEV CONQUERED

For only the third time this year, Australian Open semi-finalist and Dubai Tennis Championships winner Karatsev tasted defeat following a 6-3 6-0 loss at the hands of Korda.

American sensation Korda became the first player outside the top five to beat Karatsev this year, with the latter's previous two losses coming against world number one Novak Djokovic and world number four Dominic Thiem.

"It is super special [to reach the Round of 16], especially playing a guy who was as hot as he was," said Korda. "I just took the tactics that I used [against him] at Roland Garros and it worked out really well today."

Diego Schwartzman stands in the way of Korda and the quarters after the fifth seed accounted for Adrian Mannarino 6-1 6-4.

Elsewhere, Denis Shapovalov – the sixth seed – was upstaged by Hubert Hurkacz 6-3 7-6 (8-6).

Another Canadian awaits Hurkacz after 12th seed Milos Raonic was a 6-4 7-5 winner against Ugo Humbert.

Stefanos Tsitsipas continued his strong run of form en route to the Miami Open third round, while Aslan Karatsev's maintained his fairytale run in 2021.

Greek star Tsitsipas flexed his muscles in a straight-sets win over Damir Dzumhur on Saturday.

Australian Open semi-finalist and Dubai Tennis Championships winner Karatsev enjoyed a victorious Miami debut.

Andrey Rublev, Diego Schwartzman, Denis Shapovalov, Marin Cilic and Milos Raonic also progressed at the ATP 1000 tournament.

 

TSITSIPAS STAYS HOT

World number five Tsitsipas eased past Dzumhur 6-1 6-4 in his first appearance since losing in last week's Mexican Open final.

Tsitsipas (15-4) became the third player to reach 15 wins this season, the second seed following in the footsteps of Russian duo Rublev (17-3) and Daniil Medvedev (15-2).

"It was a great match, especially against a guy that I probably don't have a good record playing against in the past," said Tsitsipas. "I started the match very strong, breaking him twice and taking a big lead in the score, and I think the things worked out by themselves after that."

Tsitsipas will face Kei Nishikori after the Japanese outlasted Aljaz Bedene 7-6 (8-6) 5-7 6-4.

 

NO STOPPING KARATSEV

Karatsev's Miami Open debut ended in a 6-4 6-3 win for the 17th-seeded Russian over Mikhail Kukushkin.

Already in the ATP's top 100 and set to keep climbing, Karatsev broke serve four times en route to the next round, where Sebastian Korda awaits after upstaging 10th seed Fabio Fognini 1-6 6-4 6-2.

"Of course it gives me confidence to win my first title, but you arrive here and it’s a different surface and new tournament," said Karatsev, who ended last season ranked 112th before bursting into the top 30 behind his semi-final run at Melbourne Park. "So you try [to think of it] as a new tournament and new place, but of course it gives me a lot of confidence."

Karatsev owns a 13-2 record this year, with his only two losses coming against world number one Novak Djokovic and US Open champion Dominic Thiem.

 

RUBLEV ROLLS ON

Fourth seed Rublev has proven to be remarkably consistent, highlighted by his crushing 6-1 6-2 rain-interrupted victory against Tennys Sandgren.

Having equalled his previous best run in Miami, Rublev will play 29th seed Marton Fucsovics who took down Thanasi Kokkinakis 7-6 (7-3) 6-7 (4-7) 6-4.

Rublev has won a Tour-leading 17 matches this year.

Elsewhere, fifth seed Schwartzman was a 6-3 6-3 winner against Yasutaka Uchiyama, Shapovalov – the sixth seed – trumped Ilya Ivashka 6-7 (5-7) 6-4 6-4 in a marathon, 12th seed Raonic accounted for Jordan Thompson 6-2 6-1, former US Open winner Cilic surprised 13th seed Christian Garin 3-6 7-5 7-6 (7-5), while 15th seed Alex de Minaur was eliminated.

Lorenzo Musetti built on his good form with a first-round victory over Michael Mmoh at the Miami Open on Thursday.

Emerging star Musetti defeated American qualifier Mmoh 6-4 6-4 to set up a second-round meeting with 23rd seed Benoit Paire.

Former US Open champion Marin Cilic also progressed in a three-set victory over Federico Coria, while Thanasi Kokkinakis, Sebastian Korda, Tennys Sandgren and Jordan Thompson were other winners.

Former top-five player Kevin Anderson was among those to bow out in the first round of the ATP 1000 event.

 

STAR ON THE RISE

Italian teenager Musetti continued his rapid rise with a hard-fought victory over Mmoh.

The 19-year-old Musetti reached the semi-finals of last week's Mexican Open, where he beat both Diego Schwartzman and Grigor Dimitrov en route to the semi-finals.

This week, Musetti battled past wildcard Mmoh in one hour, 38 minutes.

"Last week was a fantastic run in Acapulco," Musetti said in his on-court interview. " I played a really good match, it was a tough match.

"I think my lethal weapon is the backhand down the line."

 

CILIC SLICE OF FORTUNE

Former world number three Cilic secured his place in the second round with a 6-3 2-6 6-4 victory against Federico Coria.

However, Cilic – the 2014 US Open winner – had a huge slice of luck to claim a break back in the first.

The Croatian got lucky down a break at 2-1 but up 30-40 in the first when he mishit his overhead attempt, striking his frame and bobbling over for a drop shot winner to level.

"It was important for me to keep my head down, keep the focus and just try to get the best level I could today," Cilic said.

 

FOND MEMORIES FOR THANASI

Australian qualifier Kokkinakis' fond memories in Miami returned with a 6-3 6-3 win over Shintaro Mochizuki as he continues his positive return from a shoulder injury.

Kokkinakis beat then-world number one Roger Federer in Miami in 2018.

Korda won his Miami Open debut match, triumphing 6-3 6-0 over Radu Albot to set up a meeting with 10th seed Fabio Fognini.

Jordan Thompson will face Milos Raonic after accounting for Federico Delbonis 7-6 (8-6) 6-4 in two hours, 12 minutes.

Sandgren – a two-time Australian Open quarter-finalist – got past Pedro Martinez 6-4 2-0, with the Spaniard retiring.

Wimbledon and US Open runner-up Anderson was a surprise casualty, going down 7-6 (8-6) 7-5 to lucky loser Damir Dzumhur.

"I know that my game can be much better than what I'm showing right now and my position in the ATP Rankings can be much better," Dzumhur said.

Alexander Zverev cruised into the second round of the Mexican Open as debutant Sebastian Korda enjoyed a memorable debut in Acapulco.

German star and second seed Zverev accounted for teenager Carlos Alcaraz, the 2019 runner-up winning the opening-round clash 6-3 6-1 on Monday.

Alcaraz – in his first showdown against a top-10 player – broke for a 2-0 lead and while he continued to go toe-to-toe with Zverev through six games, the 17-year-old was unable to maintain his charge.

Zverev broke for a 4-3 lead and the 2020 US Open finalist did not look back, winning nine of the last 10 games to advance in 84 minutes.

"He started off playing extremely well, he didn't miss a lot of balls. Then I felt more comfortable on court, this is the first round," Zverev said.

"It's not always easy to play a first round, especially against a player like this, who is very young, who is very motivated and who wants to compete. I'm actually quite happy with how the match went."

Next up for Zverev – who reached the Australian Open quarter-finals in February – is Serbia's Laslo Djere.

Djere took down Steve Johnson 6-2 6-3 for a spot in the last 16.

Meanwhile, Korda capped his Acapulco bow with a shock 7-5 6-2 win against former world number three Marin Cilic.

Korda claimed his first ATP 500-level victory having saved 10 of the 11 break points he faced in the opening set against the 2014 US Open champion.

Canadian sensation and seventh seed Felix Auger-Aliassime awaits after the 20-year-old converted his sixth match point to see off Tennys Sandgren 6-3 7-6 (10-8).

Elsewhere, John Isner and Dominik Koepfer also advanced.

Marin Cilic survived match point en route to defeating Kwon Soon-woo and booking his place in the Singapore Tennis Open semi-finals on Friday.

The former world number three is aiming to become the sixth active player to reach 20 titles on the ATP Tour this week but was staring down the barrel when trailing 5-4 in the deciding set.

But Cilic survived to record a 6-2 2-6 7-5 win against his Korean opponent and earn a last-four date with Alexei Popyrin, following the Australian's straight-sets win over compatriot Matthew Ebden.

"I think that the third set was solid from the both of us, it was a great match and it went to the end," Cilic said. "At 5-5 [in the third set], I kept my focus and felt that I was going to get my chance. 

"There were a few break opportunities that I couldn't convert, but on the third one, I hit a great return."

Radu Albot is into a first ATP Tour semi-final in 19 months after knocking out top seed Adrian Mannarino 6-3 6-4. His reward is a semi-final with Alexander Bublik, who overcame fifth seed Yoshihito Nishioka in straight sets.

At the Open Sud de France, top seed Roberto Bautista Agut made short work of Ugo Humbert in a 6-3 6-3 win. He next faces Peter Gojowczyk after the German routed Dennis Novak 6-4 6-1.

Second seed David Goffin cruised past Lorenzo Sonego 6-4 6-4 and will play Egor Gerasimov in the last four after his three-sets win over Alejandro Davidovich Fokina.

Marin Cilic made a strong start to his quest to win the Singapore Open and join the ATP Tour's rather exclusive '20 club'.

The former world number three beat Taro Daniel 7-5 6-4 on Wednesday, winning 82 per cent of his first-serve points in an encouraging performance as he attempts to win a ninth indoor Tour title.

Should Cilic lift the trophy, he would join Roger Federer (103), Rafael Nadal (86), Novak Djokovic (82), Andy Murray (46) and Juan Martin del Potro (22) as the only active male players to win at least 20 Tour-level titles.

"It is the beginning of the season and my third match of the year, so I am still feeling a little bit rusty," said Cilic. "Overall, it was a solid match. [It is] something I definitely needed for the start of the tournament."

The Croatian will face Kwon Soon-woo in the quarter-finals, while Yoshihito Nishioka and Alexander Bublik were among the others to progress.

Jannik Sinner was a surprise casualty at the Open Sud de France, the world number 34 losing in three sets to Aljaz Bedene in a match that lasted nearly two hours and 40 minutes.

Sixth seed Ugo Humbert battled past Dutch qualifier Tallon Griekspoor in a match with three tie-breaks, while second seed David Goffin went the distance to overcome wildcard Benjamin Bonzi 4-6 6-4 7-5.

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