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Defending champion Cilic powers into third round

Marin Cilic of Croatia gestures after winning a point against Evgeny Donskoy of Russia (not pictured) on day three of the 2015 U.S. Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center

Defending champion Marin Cilic powered his way into the third round of the U.S. Open with a 6-2 6-3 7-5 victory over Russian Evgeny Donskoy in Flushing Meadows on Wednesday.

The ninth-seeded Croatian cracked 19 aces past the 139th-ranked Donskoy and clinched the second-round match with another huge serve that clattered off the Russian’s racquet.

“This court is very special for me, brings back special memories,” the 26-year-old Cilic said in an on-court interview with ESPN. “It’s sort of unreal. I was working all my life to win a grand slam and now I’m in position to defend one.”

Cilic will next play either Bulgarian 17th seed Grigor Dimitrov or Kazakhstan’s Mikhail Kukushkin.

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