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Cilic Breaks Through To First Wimbledon SF

After his first-round match at The Championships, Marin Cilic said that he might be playing the best he's ever played on the grass courts at Wimbledon. Nine days later, many fans and observers are starting to agree.

The seventh-seeded Cilic marched into his first Wimbledon semi-final on Wednesday, breaking Gilles Muller three times to knock out the 34-year-old left-hander 3-6, 7-6(6), 7-5, 5-7, 6-1 on No. 1 Court.

Marin Cilic beats Gilles Muller on Wednesday in the Wimbledon quarter-finals.
Cilic reaches the semi-finals for the first time in his 11th appearance. His coach Jonas Bjorkman broke through to the Wimbledon semi-finals during his 13th showing.

The 6'6” Croatian has now reached four Grand Slam semi-finals: He fell at 2010 Australian Open to Andy Murray and at 2015 US Open to Novak Djokovic. But at 2014 US Open, Cilic outplayed Djokovic and went on to beat Kei Nishikori for his maiden Grand Slam title.

The 28-year-old Cilic will look to reach his second Grand Slam final when he faces another first-time Wimbledon semi-finalist. Cilic will play 24th seed Sam Querrey of the U.S., who upset World No. 1 and defending champion Andy Murray 3-6, 6-4, 6-7(4), 6-1, 6-1 in two hours and 42 minutes on Wednesday.

The win marks the second consecutive year Querrey has upset a member of the “Big Four” at Wimbledon. Last year, the right-hander shocked then-defending champion Djokovic in the third round. Cilic leads their FedEx ATP Head2Head series 4-0, and three of their four match-ups have taken place on grass.

Cilic was spared facing a member of the “Big Four” on Wednesday, thanks to the performance of Muller's career, when he knocked out two-time champion Rafael Nadal in an epic match that concluded 15-13 in the fifth set. Observers thought Muller might feel the effects of the four-hour and 47-minute match during his quarter-final against Cilic, but Muller picked up right where he finished.


The left-hander, playing in his first Grand Slam quarter-final, broke first when he lashed a forehand winner down the line to lead 4-3 in the first set. He'd break again to take the opener after only 33 minutes.

But Cilic, who had fallen in the Wimbledon quarter-finals the past three years, rebounded well. He held serve throughout the second set and controlled his nerves in the tie-break. Muller, after having saved a set point at 5/6, double faulted at 6/6 to give Cilic another set point, which Cilic converted with a lunging forehand pass.

“When I won the second set, I felt that I was the one who just started to play a little bit better. I was the one who started to make a little bit more pressure and I was more into Gilles' service games,” Cilic said.

Cilic looked to be taking control in the third. He held throughout and broke for the first time at 6-5. During that service break, Cilic ended a remarkable streak of Muller's. Up until that game, which included 15 Muller service games and the second-set tie-break, the left-hander had not lost a point while serving into the ad court.

Down two sets to one, though, Muller did not fade. The two-time ATP World Tour titlist this season broke Cilic at 5-5 and continued to mix up his serve effectively. The Luxembourg left-hander won eight of the final 10 points in the fourth set to force a decider.

“I just reset myself a little bit after the fourth set. I didn't want to change anything because I didn't play too bad a set, and I just continued on that path,” Cilic said.

But in the final set, Cilic seized control of the match and didn't let go. He broke Muller twice and converted his first match point to advance.

“I think I started out pretty good on the first set... Marin was able to win the second set, then started playing better. He was a better player in the fourth set for sure. He was dominating... Somehow I stayed in there and managed to win it. I don't know how,” Muller said. “Then what was very tough was the beginning of the fifth set. He played a phenomenal game in the beginning to break me. It was tough to take that because that's not the way you want to start out a fifth set, especially if you just won the fourth, run behind the score all the time. He was just too good at the end.”

Cilic becomes the third Croatian man to reach the Wimbledon semi-finals in the Open Era after Goran Ivanisevic (1990, 1992, 1994-95, 1998, 2001) and Mario Ancic (2004).

Source: http://www.atpworldtour.com/en/news/muller-cilic-wimbledon-2017-qf

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