Cilic into U.S. Open third round; Fish takes final bow
By Steve Keating
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Defending champion Marin Cilic powered into the third round of the U.S. Open with a routine win over Russia's Evgeny Donskoy on Wednesday while the curtain came down on American Mardy Fish's career.
After playing his opening match on an outside court, Cilic returned to Arthur Ashe Stadium, scene of last year's triumph, and it once again looked to be a perfect fit as the big-hitting Croatian rolled to 6-2 6-3 7-5 win over the Russian qualifier.
During last year's magical run Cilic was invincible on the Arthur Ashe Stadium court as he swept by Tomas Berdych in the quarters, took out Roger Federer in the semis and Kei Nishikori in a one-sided final.
"This court is very special for me, brings back special memories," the ninth-seeded Cilic said in an on-court interview. "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."
After a first round littered with upsets, the start of second round action went according to script as Spanish seventh seed David Ferrer beat Serb Filip Krajinovic 7-5 7-5 7-6(4) and Canadian 10th seed Milos Raonic fought off back pain and several visits from the trainer to beat Spain's Fernando Verdasco 6-2 6-4 6-7(5) 7-6(1).
It was a great start to another steamy day for the Americans with 19th seed Madison Keys needing just 54 minutes on center court to race past Czech Tereza Smitkova 6-1 6-2 and reach the third round for the first time four tries.
The victory marked another milestone in what has been Keys's best grand slam season having reached the Australian Open semi-finals, Wimbledon quarters and third round of the French Open.
"So far this year it's probably been the best year I have had," said Keys. "It hasn't been perfect. There have been some ups and downs but I think that's the nature of tennis. Continued...