French Open: Marin Cilic flies under the radar all the way to last eight

first_imgMarin Cilic has flown under the radar since arriving in Paris but after reaching the French Open quarter-finals for the loss of 26 games he looms as a clear and present danger.The 28-year-old Croat joins four other grand slam winners in the last eight but, while nine-times Roland Garros winner Rafa Nadal, holder Novak Djokovic, 2015 champion Stan Wawrinka and Andy Murray make the headlines, Cilic barely gets a mention.On Monday he was on court for 48 minutes before South African Kevin Anderson retired because of a leg injury with Cilic leading 6-3, 3-0 on Court Suzanne Lenglen.The undemonstrative seventh seed joined Spain’s Nadal and Austrian Dominic Thiem in reaching the quarters without conceding a set and will next face Swiss Wawrinka, who he trails 11-2 in head-to-heads and has not beaten since 2010.Only Nadal (20) has lost fewer games so far here this year and Cilic, who has reached the quarter-finals for the first time having done so in the other three slams, says he has not felt better at a grand slam since he won the 2014 U.S. Open.”Apart from at the U.S. Open in ’14, I’m definitely feeling the best on the court,” Cilic, the first Croatian to reach the last eight since Mario Ancic and Ivan Ljubicic in 2006, told reporters. “Even then I didn’t go through the draw as comfortably as here.”At 1.98 metres, and with a game built on power off the serve and forehand, Cilic does not look made for clay.But he is a French Open junior champion and has two claycourt titles to his name, one of which came this year when he won the Istanbul tournament.advertisement”With the form I’m in I feel great on the court,” said the 28-year-old. “It’s a huge bonus for me, knowing that mentally and physically I haven’t spent any energy at all.”I grew up on clay, playing half the year on clay. But I would say last year I started to feel that I’m getting better on it. This year we changed a little bit the routine of the training on clay, and that helped me a lot.”Cilic will need to find another gear against third seed Wawrinka, but he is ready and with warm weather expected later in the week he definitely has a puncher’s chance.”With Stan it’s extremely difficult on any surface,” he said. “He has won a lot of matches in a row against me.”But for me I have to focus on keeping this level and to look for my chances.”last_img read more

Clandestine escape

first_imgA couple, perhaps newly in love, is sitting very close. The stern looking woman is saying something to the boy. Two joggers appear from behind the trees, the logos on their track pants fairly prominent. The area is Nepli, a rare spot in Chandigarh’s vicinity that’s straight from the soil.,A couple, perhaps newly in love, is sitting very close. The stern looking woman is saying something to the boy. Two joggers appear from behind the trees, the logos on their track pants fairly prominent. The area is Nepli, a rare spot in Chandigarh’s vicinity that’s straight from the soil. No concrete or forced order here. Only rich melancholy and intense craving.It has been secretly decided that the place needs to be reintroduced through someone else’s eyes, but the few people here seem busy. Very busy.Under the trees on both the sides is a mud path. On the left is the artificial lake Sukhna, which dries up every summer and all conversations in the city’s page 3 circuit and newspaper supplements revolve round that. Straight ahead is an invitation to go deeper into the forest. An arresting bleakness and enigmatic darkness. It’s far from easy to walk in the heat, but one doesn’t have a choice when each day glides on the wings of insomnia. It is 5.30 p.m., the sun is unrelenting and you know that this story on secret places in the city is going nowhere. And then there is a woman in a yellow sari. Her rhythmic walk is like that of a secret-service agent. She is shy but still manages to say that she is no “serious walker” but comes often for a stroll and doesn’t mind a chat.Geetanjali Mangal, 21, Sanya Doomra, 22, and Aastha Bhardwaj, 21, are from Chandigarh. They come to Nepli at least twice a month. And they love getting photographed. Mangal takes a lot of pictures too. All of them reveal that this is their best Instagram picture spot. They also teach us how to Snapchat between giggles.advertisementDuring winters, Doomra likes to come here with a book. Mangal tells us that many photographers and models can be spotted early in the day. Bhardwaj thinks it’s not important to know the reason why one loves a place. And then there is CATS (Chandigarh Adventure Treks and Sports) that has been organising multiple activities ever since it was conceived in 2007. The founder Supreet Dhiman, 43, confirms, “This is definitely the best place to escape the city. Not only is it a stone’s throw away but offers something for every age group.” On your next weekend, go to Nepli. Find out if the part woman-part spirit in yellow is for real or Nepli’s own phantom.Woman in a Yellow Sari: Doesn’t matter that I stick out in a sari here.India Today Punjabi: But people might think you are not for real.Woman in a Yellow Sari: Maybe that is the reason I refuse to be photographed.India Today Punjabi: And we thought it’s the silly husband. (The photographer has disowned the reporter at this point. He is walking ahead and clicking what will never be published.)Woman in Yellow Sari: I am not answering that. India Today Punjabi: Tell us more about the place. And you.Woman in Yellow Sari: That sometimes I come with friends on weekends when there is no office? Do an old-school picnic? Of course, the place is great for treks and all-terrain biking among closed adventure groups. I see them, all the time. I never participate. Just stroll.India Today Punjabi: Not even strangers approaching you for a chat?Woman in Yellow Sari: Never. This is the first time. That’s why I am escaping now.India Today Punjabi: One picture. To let the world know we met.Woman in Yellow Sari: Secret place has secret rules, leave no trace.Nepli Reserve Forest beckonsReach there: Enter from the Garden of Silence near Chandigarh Golf Club. Climb the tiny hill and straight ahead is the path to the forest.Why Here?1. View of the Shivalik Hills from the twelve watchtowers in the forest2. Excellent spot for picnics3. Trekker’s paradise4. Perfect for all-terrain biking5. Birdwatcher’s dreamland6. Abundant flora and fauna7. Water bodies8. Deer spottinglast_img read more