Marin Cilic had the surprise today at the 2015 Rome Masters Open of taking on Guillermo Garcia-Lopez, who was in a winning mood. The ninth seed was ousted from the Open after only two sets 6-4, 6-3. This marked Garcia-Lopez’s twentieth win this season in the Open’s first round.
World No. 28 Garcia-Lopez made a strong start to the clay-court swing, lifting the trophy in Bucharest (d. Vesely) before reaching the semi-finals in Estoril (l. to Gasquet). Last week in Madrid, he lost a tight first-round encounter with Fernando Verdasco.
Cilic’s search for form continues. The 2014 US Open champion returned from a shoulder injury in Indian Wells and has won back-to-back matches just once in five tournaments, reaching the Monte-Carlo quarter-finals (l. to Djokovic).
Down a set and a break, No. 8 seed Stan Wawrinka was just games away from becoming the second top player to make an early exit in Rome on Tuesday before shifting the momentum to overcome World No. 36 Juan Monaco 4-6, 6-3, 6-2.
“For me, it’s never easy when I get into a tournament,” Wawrinka said. “Juan is a tough player to play, especially on clay. I’m happy to get through. The most important thing is to win matches.”
A finalist in 2008, Wawrinka served up seven aces and saved eight of the 12 break points he faced in the two hour, 12-minute match. In his 11th appearance in Rome, the Swiss will look to win two matches in a row for the first time since winning the Rotterdam title in February. He will meet the winner of Dominic Thiem and Gilles Simon in the third round.
No. 11 seed Feliciano Lopez avoided defeat at the hands of 20-year-old Nick Kyrgios, taking out the Aussie 6-4, 7-6(4) to tally his 100th win on clay.
Kyrgios, who upset Roger Federer last week in Madrid, came into the match with a career-high Emirates ATP Ranking of No. 20, but his high confidence level was not enough to overcome the veteran Spaniard. The 33-year-old left-hander struck 12 aces and faced just one break point in the 81-minute match.
“It was a great win, beating Nick today, after his performance in Madrid and Estoril, where he reached the final,” said Lopez. “I have not been so confident on the clay this season, but I hope this win will give me a boost.”
Lopez, who is making his 12th appearance in Rome, will next face Viktor Troicki as he tries to record back-to-back wins for the first time in his past six events.
Troicki will have his work cut out for him after surviving a two hour, 46-minute opening match against Bernard Tomic. The World No. 34 toppled the Aussie 7-6(3), 6-7(4), 7-6(4).