ATP Paris Masters: Marin Cilic makes winning return after doping ban
Last Updated: 28/10/13 10:41pm
Marin Cilic: Made a winning return in Paris after serving doping ban
Marin Cilic made a winning return to top-level tennis as he beat Holland's Igor Sijsling 5-7 6-1 6-4 in the first round of the Paris Masters.
The Croat has not played competitively since Wimbledon having been forced to serve a doping ban after failing a drugs test earlier in the season.
Cilic saw that ban reduced from nine months to four months last week meaning he was eligible to compete this week in the French capital.
However, the 25-year-old looked in danger of an early exit as Sijsling moved ahead, taking advantage of his only break point in the first set in the 11th game to make a decisive move.
Cilic hit back in impressive fashion as he broke his opponent twice in a one-sided second set to force a decider.
It proved a tense affair and one break was enough for the big-hitting Croat who served out well after getting his nose in front, a booming body-serve clinching a morale-boosting victory.
Del Potro date
Cilic faces a tricky assignment in the next round as he takes on Juan Martin Del Potro, the in-form Argentine having won in Basel over the weekend.
Elsewhere on Monday, Feliciano Lopez edged a tight contest against Australian youngster Bernard Tomic, the Spaniard coming through a final-set tie-break to win 6-4 6-7 (4/7) 7-6 (7/1).
Fernando Verdasco needed two tie-breaks to get past Ernests Gulbis, winning 7-6 (7/3) 7-6 (7/5) during a contest that saw the hot-headed Latvian produce a trademark smashing of his racket.
Lukas Rosol - conqueror of Rafael Nadal at Wimbledon last year - secured an impressive success as he defeated home hope Jeremy Chardy 6-3 6-4.
Robin Haase also came through in straight sets as he beat Denis Istomin 7-6 (10-8) 6-3, while Colombia's Santiago Giraldo needed three to overcome another Frenchman, Adrian Mannarino, 6-3 2-6 6-4.
Japan's Kei Nishikori saw off home favourite Julien Benneteau 6-4 6-2 while Pierre-Hugues Herbert got the better of fellow Frenchman Benoit Paire by a 6-2 6-2 scoreline, setting up a second round clash with Novak Djokovic.