Kevin Anderson continued his good form at the Maharashtra Open on Wednesday. Photo: Kamran Jebreili/AP

PUNE – Grand Slam winner Marin Cilic’s preparation for the Australian Open got off to the perfect start on Wednesday with an easy victory in the last-16 of the ATP Maharashtra Open.

The world number six breezed into the quarter finals of the $550 000 tournament, held in the Indian city of Pune, with a straight-sets win over local wildcard Ramkumar Ramanathan.

Cilic, the 2014 US Open champion and number one seed in Pune, won 6-4 6-3. 

It was the Croatian’s first match of the hardcourt event after he received a bye in the opening round.

Cilic will take on Frenchman Pierre-Hugues Herbert, ranked 81st in the world, in Thursday’s last-eight tie.

South African number two seed Kevin Anderson also won his last-16 match after Thiago Monteiro of Brazil retired hurt in the second set with the score at 7-6 3-2 in favour of Anderson.

Fourth seed Benoit Paire beat Hungary’s Marton Fucsovics, but it was a miserable day for defending champion and third seed Roberto Bautista Agut. 

The Spaniard, 20th in the ATP standings, was dumped out of the competition 6-3 7-6 (7/5) by France’s Gilles Simon, ranked a lowly 89th.

Agut claimed the title last year when it was known as the Chennai Open.

The Australian Open, the first Grand Slam of the year, starts on January 15.