US Open: Cilic beats Gombos, Medvedev marches into third round

Marin Cilic earned a hard-fought victory against Norbert Gombos while Daniil Medvedev crushed Christopher O'Connell in the second round of the U.S. Open.

Marin Cilic celebrates during the U.S. Open second round match against Norbert Gombos.   -  ap

For a former champion Marin Cilic has flown under the U.S. Open radar but the Croatian with the booming serve was again making noise on Thursday, advancing to the third round with a 6-3, 1-6, 7-6(2), 7-5 win over Norbert Gombos.

With Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal not at Flushing Meadows, former winners Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray have grabbed the spotlight but Cilic, the 2014 champion, is back in the third round for the seventh straight year.

As ever, Cilic, seeded 31, has taken the long road, needing five sets to see off American Denis Kudla in the opening round and nearly three hours to get past the 104th-ranked Gombos.

The win over Kudla was the 33rd time Cilic has needed five sets to advance at a Grand Slam tournament, the most of any active player, and the 31-year-old Croatian was nearly forced to go the distance again.

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Cilic looked set for a quick day as he powered through the opening set, only to drop the second 6-1.

Play tightened in the third, Gombos getting a look at set point with Cilic serving at 4-5 but in the end the Croatian took control to dominate the tiebreak 7-2.

Cilic took the momentum into the third, grabbing the only break and closing out the contest on his first match point to set up a showdown with second seed Dominic Thiem who was a 6-3 6-3 6-2 winner over India's Sumit Nagal.

Medevedev crushes O'Connell

Daniil Medvedev charged into the U.S. Open third round with a 6-3 6-2 6-4 demolition of Australian battler Christopher O'Connell on Thursday.

The Russian third seed, beaten by Rafa Nadal in last year's classic final, broke 116th-ranked O'Connell four times while giving him nothing on serve under a closed roof at Louis Armstrong Stadium.

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O'Connell, who cleaned boats in Sydney to make ends meet while injuries hampered his tennis aspirations, took a lengthy medical time-out to have a trainer work on an apparent back strain at 4-1 in the second set.

The 26-year-old dug in admirably in the final set, prising his only two break points from the Russian, but Medvedev saved them and sealed the match with a big serve.

Medvedev next faces young American J.J. Wolf for a place in the last 16.

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