• Cilic, Ljubicic give home feel to Croatia Open

    7/25/11 5:45 PM | Ricky Dimon
    Cilic, Ljubicic give home feel to Croatia Open The brief summer clay-court stretch continues this week in Umag. Seeds Marin Cilic, Ivan Ljubicic, and Ivan Dodig will be bidding to treat the fans to a hometown champion.

    The last week of clay-court action until September gets underway on Monday, with plenty of hometown hopefuls headlining the Studena Croatia Open. Three Croats--Marin Cilic, Ivan Ljubicic, and Ivan Dodig--are seeded, and among those with first-round byes are Cilic and Ljubicic.

    Leading the way ahead of Cilic and Ljubicic are No. 1 seed Juan Ignacio Chela and second-seeded Alexandr Dolgopolov. At 31 years old, Chela is in the midst of a resurgent season, compiling a 23-15 record and climbing to 21st in the world rankings. The Argentine, though, could have to get past a pair of tough clay-courters in Potito Starace and Fabio Fognini just to reach the semifinals.

    Dolgopolov has cooled off since a blistering start to the year. The 22-year-old Ukrainian is still a respectable 22-18 for his 2011 campaign, but he has lost four straight matches dating back to the Halle second round. Dolgopolov has to contend with Dodig and clay-court specialist Filippo Volandri, who is coming off a Challenger title, in the bottom quarter of the draw.

    Cilic arguably has the friendliest draw, at least in terms of the bracket's second section lacking clay-court talent. Ljubicic, on the other hand, may have to open against Juan Carlos Ferrero. The 31-year-old Spaniard captured the Stuttgart title earlier this month.

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