Cilic rekindles Arthur Ashe magic at U.S. Open

Wed Sep 2, 2015 6:52pm EDT
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By Larry Fine

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Returning to the scene of his grandest tennis achievement had a magical impact on defending champion Marin Cilic, who powered his way into the third round of the U.S. Open at Arthur Ashe Stadium on Wednesday.

Cilic, who has a 19-13 record this year as he has battled a shoulder injury since winning his maiden grand slam at Flushing Meadows, blasted home 19 aces to sweep past Russian Evgeny Donskoy 6-2 6-3 7-5 on Wednesday.

The Croatian said returning to the blue court at Arthur Ashe was a moving experience, and after a first-round victory at Louis Armstrong Stadium he was back at his favorite place.

"This court is very special for me, brings back special memories," said Cilic. "It's sort of unreal. I was working all my life to win a grand slam and now I'm in position to defend one."

Cilic said flashing back to his 2014 triumph was inspiring.

"I feel that these things are close to me, somewhere around in the air, and I'm feeling that I'm close to finding them again and playing really good tennis," added the ninth-seeded Cilic.

"When it counted I was making a lot of first serves and really playing the attacking tennis that I was also playing last year.

"Conditions out there on Arthur Ashe Stadium are a bit quicker, the court is quicker, and that suits my game."   Continued...

Sep 2, 2015; New York, NY, USA; Marin Cilic of Croatia serves to Evgeny Donskoy of Russia on day three of the 2015 U.S. Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports