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Cilic downs Benneteau, Bhupathi-Knowles duo advances

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SOLDIERING ON: Croatia’s Marin Cilic was made to sweat by France’s Julien Benneteau.
SOLDIERING ON: Croatia’s Marin Cilic was made to sweat by France’s Julien Benneteau.

Dubai: Marin Cilic of Croatia progressed to the third round of the Dubai Open after defeating Julien Benneteau of France in three sets on Wednesday.

Gilles Simon and David Ferrer also moved up with convincing victories over Teimuraz Gabashvili and Philipp Kohlschreiber respectively.

Second-seeded Mahesh Bhupathi and Mark Knowles sailed into the quarterfinals after an easy 6-3, 6-1 win over UAE’s Hamoud Abbas and Mahmoud-Naden Al Baloushi.

Protected by two bodyguards as he walked onto court, Andy Ram became the first Israeli to play in this Gulf state on Wednesday, losing a first-round doubles match a week after Israel’s Shahar Peer was denied a visa for the women’s tournament.

Despite the tight security, Ram appeared relaxed and focused once he and partner Kevin Ullyett of Zimbabwe began the match against Marat Safin of Russia and Spain’s David Ferrer at the Dubai Tennis Championships. The fourth-seeded Ram and Ullyet fell 6-3, 2-6, 10-8.

Nalbandian shocked

Top seed David Nalbandian was knocked out of the first round of the Acapulco Open late on Tuesday, losing 1-6, 6-3 6-4 to unseeded Austrian Daniel Koellerer.

Nalbandian swept through the first set in 31 minutes but fell to pieces after that.

Fish advances

Top-seed Mardy Fish worked his way into the second round of the $500,000 Delray Beach International Championships with a 7-5, 6-3 opening victory over Canadian qualifier Frank Dancevic on Tuesday.

Dancevic had Fish love-40 on his serve at 5-all in the first set before Fish dug in.

Dancevic had fended off six break points in the preceding game and when Fish finally held serve in the 11th game, the match swung heavily in the American’s favour.

The results: At Dubai (ATP Dubai Open): Singles: Second round: Gilles Simon bt Teimuraz Gabashvili 6-1, 6-2; David Ferrer bt Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-4 6-2; Marin Cilic bt Julien Benneteau 6-3, 4-6, 7-5; Richard Gasquet bt Simone Bolelli 6-7(4), 6-3, 7-6(5); Fabrice Santoro bt Marc Chiudinelli 3-6, 6-1, 7-6(1); Andy Murray (GBR x2) bt Arnaud Clement (FRA) 6-2, 6-3.

At Delray Beach (ATP Delray Beach International Championships): First round: Mardy Fish bt Frank Dancevic 7-5, 6-3; Marcos Baghdatis bt Ernests Gulbis 7-5, 6-2; Mischa Zverev bt Taylor Dent 6-4, 6-3; Jeremy Chardy bt Tommy Haas 7-6(7), 6-3 Andrey Golubev bt Evan King 6-2, 6-4; Lu Yen-hsun bt Lleyton Hewitt 7-5, 2-6, 6-2; Evgeny Korolev bt Igor Kunitsyn (Russia) 6-4, 7-6(3); Vince Spadea bt Denis Gremelmayr 2-6, 7-5, 6-1; Gilles Muller bt Ryan Sweeting 7-6(5), 6-2; Dudi Sela bt Philipp Petzschner 6-3, 4-1 (retd.).

At Acapulco (ATP & WTA Acapulco Open): Men: First round: Kevin Kim bt Juan Monaco 1-6, 3-0 (retd.); Daniel Koellerer bt David Nalbandian 1-6, 6-3, 6-4; Carlos Moya bt Pablo Andujar 6-4, 6-7(2), 6-2; Gael Monfils bt Olivier Patience 7-6(4) 6-4; Nicolas Almagro bt Santiago Gonzalez 6-4, 6-2; Marcel Granollers bt Fabio Fognini 7-6(3), 7-5; Alberto Martin bt Marcos Daniel 6-4, 7-5.

Women: First round: Venus Williams bt Nuria Llagostera 6-4, 4-6, 6-2; Carla Suarez Navarro bt Viktoriya Kutuzova 7-5, 6-3; Flavia Pennetta bt Mariya Koryttseva 6-3, 6-1; Agnes Szavay bt Anna Orlik 7-5, 7-5.— Agencies

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