MONACO — David Goffin beat an erratic Marin Cilic 6-4, 3-6, 6-0 to reach the second round of the clay-court Monte Carlo Masters on Sunday.
Although the 2014 U.S. Open champion Cilic had 10 aces and led the match 3-0, he made 52 unforced errors and also dropped serve six times against the 11th-seeded Belgian.
It was the ninth meeting between them. Goffin leads 5-4.
“In the first and second set, I had problems with the returns,” the 30-year-old Goffin said. “In the third set, I was more consistent. It was a good match.”
The day’s only other match lasted three hours as Australian player Jordan Thompson overcame Frenchman Benoit Paire 6-4, 6-7 (3), 7-6 (5) in an error-strewn match with 17 service breaks.
Thompson has won his two career matches against Paire, with both on clay.
Rafael Nadal seeks a record-extending 12th title here and the 20-time Grand Slam champion could meet top-ranked Novak Djokovic, the Australian Open champion, in next Sunday’s final.
Djokovic beat Nadal in the 2013 final and won the tournament again in 2015, while Nadal’s 11th title came in 2018.
Nadal was convincingly beaten by Fabio Fognini in the semifinals in 2019, and the tournament was canceled last year because of the coronavirus pandemic.