NEW YORK // Marin Cilic made a winning start to his US Open challenge Monday as the Croatian seeks to recapture his best form.
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The 22 year old looked ready to make the breakthrough to the top echelons of tennis in 2009 when he thrashed Andy Murray on his way to the quarter-finals at Flushing Meadows.
Despite reaching the semi-finals at the Australian Open last year he has been unable to build on those results and has slipped to No 26 in the world from a high of No 9 in February 2010.
But he showed encouraging form in disposing of Ryan Harrison, the American, coming through in straight sets 6-2, 7-5, 7-6 despite a third set wobble.
Harrison had come more into the match as the game progressed, and served for the third set before Cilic broke back to take it to a tie-break.
He was 4-2 down in that, before recovering to win it 8-6 to book his place in the second round.
In other action, Tomas Berdych avoided lightning striking twice as he won his first round match.
Twelve months ago, Berdych had been in the form of his life after reaching the Wimbledon final, but then was stunned in New York in the first round by Michael Llodra.
There was no mistake from the No 9 seed this time around as the Czech Republic player defeated Romain Jouan, the Frenchman, 6-2, 7-6, 6-1.
Janko Tipsarevic was the first men's player through to the last 64 in New York. The big-serving Serbian, who is the No 20 seed, proved too good for Augustin Genese, the Frenchman, as he cantered to a 6-2, 7-5, 6-0 success.
Also through was Marcel Granollers, the No 31 seed. The Spaniard defeated Xavier Malisse of Belgium, 6-4, 6-4, 6-4.
Japan's Kei Nishikori suffered injury heartbreak for the second year in succession at the US Open when he retired from his first round clash against Italy's Flavio Cipolla.
The 21-year-old Nishikori called it quits after dropping the first two sets 6-4, 6-2.
Twelve months ago, Nishikori, now ranked at a career-high 46 in the world, was forced to retire from his third round tie against Spain's Albert Montanes with a groin injury.