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Australian Open 2019: Marin Čilić into the last 16 after 5-set thriller

Marin Čilić (Photo: Australian Open/Twitter)

18 January 2019 – A mixed day on Friday in Melbourne for Croatian players still involved in the Australian Open. 

In the men’s draw, Marin Čilić advanced into the last 16 after a 5-set thriller, whilst Petra Martić bowed out of the tournament in the round of 32 today after a spirited display.

6th-seed Čilić came back from two sets down and saved two match points to beat veteran Spaniard and the tournament’s 26th-seed Fernando Verdasco in the evening match on Margaret Court Arena on Friday. 

Čilić had a chance at 0-40 to break first in the opening set but Verdasco managed to survive and came back to break to take the opening set. 

The 35-year-old Spaniard broke twice in the second set to go up 2-0 before Čilić started his fightback when he won the third set 6-1. Čilić won the tiebreaker in the fourth after saving two match points to take the match into a fifth set.

In the decider, Čilić would break Verdasco in his opening service game to jump to a 3-0 lead. He would hold his serve throughout the set to take the match in just over four hours 6-4, 6-3, 1-6, 7-6, 6-3. 

Čilić will face another Spaniard, 22nd-seed Roberto Bautista Agut in the round of 16. Agut beat Karen Khachanov in straight sets in the round of 32 today.

Meanwhile, Croatia’s only hope in the women’s draw, Petra Martić, was beaten in two tiebreakers by 5th seed Sloane Stephens. 

Borna Ćorić plays his round of 32 match against Filip Krajinović on Saturday. 

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