Fifth-ranked Croatian Marin Cilic rolled past Spain's Pablo Carreno Busta 6-3, 6-3 to reach the semi-finals of the Italian Open tennis tournament and book his first-ever berth in the final four of a clay-court ATP World Tour Masters 1000 event. The 2014 US Open champion, a big server whose greatest success has come on hard and grass courts, needed just an hour and five minutes to clinch his third win over the 11th-ranked Spaniard in as many career matches, reports Efe news agency. The 29-year-old Cilic won the contest in a straight-forward fashion, not facing a single break point on serve and going three-for-three on his break-point chances. "I'm feeling great (after reaching) my first semi-final on clay at a Masters 1000 event," Cilic said.
"I was waiting many years for it to happen, so it's definitely a happy moment for sure."
Cilic, who is eyeing a second Masters 1000 title following his 2016 Cincinnati Masters triumph, will next take on either German defending champion and world No. 3 Alexander Zverev or 10th-ranked Belgian David Goffin.
Nearly all of tennis' top men's and women's players are in Rome to tune their games for the year's biggest clay-court tournament, the French Open, which gets underway on May 27.