Cilic returns with a win in Paris
Paris, France (SportsNetwork.com) - Playing his first tennis in four months, Marin Cilic returned a winner Monday at the $3.65 million Paris Masters tennis event.
Cilic returned from a four-month doping ban to beat Dutch qualifier Igor Sijsling 5-7, 6-1, 6-4 on the indoor hardcourts at Palais Omnisports de Paris- Bercy.
The 25-year-old Cilic was originally banned for nine months after testing positive for a banned stimulant, but the Court of Arbitration for Sport decided the penalty was "too severe" and reduced it last week, clearing the way for the former top-10 Croat to return to action this week.
Cilic had not played since pulling out of his second-round match at Wimbledon in the last week of June.
Up next for Cilic will be fourth seed Juan Martin del Potro, who's fresh off his title last week in Basel, where he beat Swiss icon Roger Federer in the final for a second straight year.
Meanwhile, Japan's Kei Nishikori beat Frenchman Julien Benneteau 6-4, 6-2; another former top-10 player, Fernando Verdasco, got past Latvian Ernests Gulbis 7-6 (7-3), 7-6 (7-5); another Spanish left-hander, Feliciano Lopez, outlasted Aussie qualifier Bernard Tomic 6-4, 6-7 (4-7), 7-6 (7-1); and German Philipp Kohlschreiber held off Italian Andreas Seppi 6-3, 3-6, 6-4 in Paris.
Also advancing on Day 1 were Colombian qualifier Santiago Giraldo, Czech Lukas Rosol, Frenchman Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Dutch qualifier Robin Haase.
This week's top seeds are former Paris Masters runner-up Rafael Nadal, former champion Novak Djokovic and reigning champ David Ferrer, who beat Pole Jerzy Janowicz in last year's finale.