Cilic, Simon return to ATP Maharashtra Open

Five top-50 players in world — No. 6 Kevin Anderson, world No. 7 Cilic, world No. 25 Hyeon Chung, world No. 30 Simon and world No. 45 Malek Jaziri — will take part in the tournament.

Croatian Marin Cilic comes into the Maharashtra Open at the back of yet another impressive season that included wins over Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal.   -  Getty Images

World no. 7 and former US Open champion Marin Cilic and defending champion Gilles Simon will be playing in the second edition of the Tata Open Maharashtra to be played at the Mhalunge Balewadi Stadium. 

With five top-50 players in world, in No. 6 Kevin Anderson (South Africa), world No. 7 Cilic (Croatia), world No. 25 Hyeon Chung (Korea), world No. 30 Simon (France) and world No. 45 Malek Jaziri (Tunisia) among a slew of other international stars, tennis fans can hope for an action packed week. 

As the defending champion, Simon will have a star-studded lineup to challenge his supremacy.

Though in the last edition, the 33-year old Frenchman got the better of Cilic (semifinal) and Anderson (final) en route his title, it would have been a double whammy for Simon had he won the doubles final along with his first time partner and countryman Pierre-Hugues Herbert.

“The return of Cilic, Simon, Anderson, Benoit Paire among many other players prove that the players have loved what they have seen and it swells our chest with pride to welcome back all of them including first-timers to Pune,” said Prashant Sutar, Tournament Director. 

Cilic on the other hand comes to the event at the back of yet another impressive season that included wins over Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal.

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He also made his third Grand Slam final appearance losing to Roger Federer at the Australian Open.

Cilic’s countryman Ivo Karlovic, who had to pull out last edition due to an injury, is also confirmed to participate.

At the 2018 Australian Open he hit a total of 105 aces in his second and third round matches.

At the Calgary National Bank Challenger, he became the oldest Challenger champion ever beating Jordan Thompson.

The field also includes four Spaniards in Roberto Carballes Baena (73), Jaume Munar (75), Pablo Andujar (83) and Marcel Granollers (96) along with mercurial Frenchman Benoit Paire (52).

Paire, who made it to the main draw in Pune through a wild-card entry in the last edition in Pune, advanced to semifinals after saving five match points in his second round match against Marton Fucsovics.

The straight sets win over Djokovic in Miami Open would certainly be the headline of Frenchman’s 2018 season.

Another player to watch out in the field would be Tunisian Malek Jaziri who achieved his career-high no. 45 in ATP rankings at the back of 23 wins this season. At Istanbul Open, he beat Cilic in straight sets en route his first ATP World Tour final.

Players from over 15 countries including Moldova, Serbia, South Africa, Spain, Korea, Croatia, Belarus, Russia, Latvia, Poland, Uzbekistan, Belgium, Tunisia, USA, France, Czech Republic will descend in Pune for the 2019 season opener.  

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