Feb 18 (Reuters) - Marin Cilic struggled early before finding his rhythm as the top seed ground out a 4-6 6-2 6-3 victory over friend and Croatian compatriot Ivan Dodig in the first round of the Memphis International on Monday.
The top seed is bidding for a second successive title after winning in Zagreb last week and opened his campaign against a familiar foe in Dodig, the pair growing up in the same neighbourhood and often practicing together.
Dodig started well against the world number 12 but was unable to maintain his form and intensity once Cilic improved his serving after dropping the opening set.
Cilic was the only seeded men’s player to take to the court on a quiet day with third and fourth-seeded John Isner and Sam Querrey scheduled to open their campaigns on Tuesday.
Aside from Cilic, American Rhyne Williams beat countryman Steve Johnson 7-6 6-4 while Poland’s Lukasz Kubot outlasted another American, Ryan Harrison, 6-4 6-7 7-6.
In the women’s draw, the top two seeds, Kirsten Flipkens and Sofia Arvidsson, eased into the second round with straight-sets victories.
In the day’s final match, eighth-seeded Frenchwoman Kristina Mladenovic needed less than an hour to dispatch American Courtney Collins 6-3 6-1. (Writing by Jahmal Corner in Los Angeles; Editing by John O‘Brien)