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Cilic Records 100th Grand Slam Win To Reach Last Eight

Marin Cilic won his 100th Grand Slam match to beat Pablo Carreno Busta 6-7(2), 6-3, 7-6(0), 7-6(3) and reach the Australian Open quarter-finals on Sunday.

The 2010 semi-finalist recovered from a set down, hitting 73 winners, to defeat Carreno Busta and become just the second Croatian man to reach multiple Australian Open quarter-finals (Goran Ivanisevic). The 29-year-old, who reached the final at Wimbledon last year (l. Federer), also equalled Ivanisevic’s record for most Grand Slam quarter-final appearances by a Croatian man (11).

Cilic will meet Rafael Nadal for a place in the semi-finals, after the World No. 1 defeated Diego Schwartzman later in the day. The Spaniard leads their FedEx ATP Head2Head series 5-1, having most recently squared off in the semi-finals of the Abierto Mexicano Telcel and Rolex Shanghai Masters in 2017. Nadal took both encounters in straight sets.

"I'm very pleased," said Cilic. "I felt that I played all four matches on a good quality. Today, I was looking at some small details. I was a little bit up and down on some service games, and he was returning quite good. It was a little bit more difficult. But overall I'm feeling good with the game. I'm hitting the ball really nicely, taking chances, playing aggressive, taking the ball as early as I can. So overall, feeling good."

World No. 11 Carreno Busta established a one-set lead, coming from 2-5 down to force a tie-break, which he closed out with four consecutive points from 3/2. The 2014 US Open champion responded in the second set, hitting seven aces and dropping just three points behind his second serve to level the match.

Marin Cilic wins his 100th Grand Slam match to reach the Australian Open quarter-finals on Sunday.
The Spaniard would serve for a two-sets-to-one lead at 6-5 in the third set after fighting from a break down, but could not convert with Cilic breaking to enter another tie-break. The disappointment of missing that chance was clear, as the Croat raced to the third set with seven clinical points won, and none lost.

Cilic’s hot streak would continue, as he won the first three points of the fourth set on his rival’s serve and converted his second break point to lead 1-0. Bidding to reach his first Australian Open quarter-final, Carreno Busta fought back to level the set at 3-3 and eventually took the match to a third tie-break in four sets.

Cilic, as he had in the previous set, rose to the occasion. With two points against the Spaniard’s serve, one at either side of the change of ends, the Croatian served the match out after three hours and 27 minutes to reach his second Australian Open quarter-final.

"It was difficult," Cilic added. "I should have won the first. I should have lost the third. I should have won quicker the fourth. So it was up and down a lot. It was a difficult match. First, the conditions today were a little bit more humid than all the other days before. And plus from the other side of the net, Pablo was playing really good, very solid, and served really well today, I would say, and backed it up with good groundstrokes from the back. He's got a very solid game. He keeps the ball quite low and is very solid off the backhand.

"It was not easy. But especially after losing that first set just being mentally there and knowing that physically it can go three, four hours. But I was staying that in the moment and just trying to focus on what I have to do. He started to lift up his game. So it was a little bit of a challenge in that way."

It was the first meeting between Cilic and Carreno Busta since 2016 - their lone previous encounter won by the Croatian in Basel.


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