RIO DE JANEIRO, February 23, 2018
Top seed Marin Cilic and Gael Monfils continued their second round match at the Rio Open Presented by Claro, after play was interrupted with the Frenchman leading the No. 1 seed, 6-3, 6-6. Monfils won the tie-break 8-6 to eventually prevail on Thursday.
The 31-year-old Frenchman extended his head-to-head record against the Australian Open finalist and World No. 3 to 3-0. Monfils edged out Horacio Zeballos in three sets in the first round, saving a match point in the process. He will next take on No. 6 seed Diego Schwartzman of Argentina in the quarterfinals. Monfils won the pair’s only previous clash at the French Open three years ago.
“I don’t think I feel very good, it’s not about numbers,” Monfils said. “I think I’m not in my best shape yet, I’m fighting for every point. Tomorrow will be a great match, Schwartzman is a very fast player. I will have to play more aggressive.”
Earlier in the day, No. 2 seed Dominic Thiem advanced to the stage of the final eight, benefitting from the retirement of Pablo Andújar. The 24-year-old Australian was leading 4-2 in the opening set when the Spaniard was forced to stop the match due to a right shoulder injury. Thiem will next face the tournament’s No. 8 Fernando Verdasco.
“I have never played him on clay, only on grass and fast hard court last year at Bercy,” Thiem said. “It’s going to be very tough. He’s fit and he’s fresh as we saw today. He played a long match… I have to watch out that I am the one dictating the game because once you let him dictate with his forehand, the point is almost over.”
Aljaz Bedene caused the upset of the day when he knockd out No. 3 seed Pablo Carreno Busta of Spain. The World No. 43 from Slovenia capitalized on eight of his 15 break point chances to secure a 6-2, 5-7, 6-2 victory in two hours and 27 minutes. Bedene will next challenge No. 5 seed Fabio Fognini from Italy.