Cilic Avoids Colossal Collapse, Keeps Composure to Reach First Slam SF
by Sean Randall | January 26th, 2010, 4:51 am
  • 33 Comments

What an absoultely crazy first quarterfinal. Things looked real good early for Marin Cilic, but later, as good as they looked they turned just as bad. But that’s tennis! Leading by two sets, the 6-foot-6 Croat was well on his way to victory over Andy Roddick earlier today in the quarterfinals of the Australian Open.

But Roddick, who was nursing a bad shoulder which required multiple treatments, began to open his game up and become more aggressive. And Cilic, who had played so steady, began to fall apart under the weight of shot from Roddick and from the pressure.

After winning the first two sets 7-6, 6-3 in two hours, Roddick raced through Cilic in the third and fourth in just over an hour by ripping winners and going for his shots. It was the old Roddick.

And things looked even more dire for Cilic as he found himself immediately in a 0-40 serving hole to begin the fifth set. Somehow though, Cilic regrouped to win the game and later, earn a break before winning the match for his first Grand Slam semifinal.

After 3-hours, 50-minutes, it was Cilic the victor 7-6, 6-3, 3-6, 2-6, 6-3 for his third five-set win of the tournament.

“Today was not easy,” Cilic said. “I was also a little bit tired from the matches before.

“Then I got lost a bit. It wasn’t easy to come back. I was having trouble with my serve. Wasn’t putting enough first serves in. I had to work for every point. It was tough ’cause he started to play much better and closer to the baseline and making me run a lot. Then it wasn’t easy to accept that.”

Said Roddick, “I don’t know what happened. I felt it a little bit the other night, the cold weather, trying to hit through those for a little while. I didn’t hit yesterday. Felt pretty good today in warmup, the first couple games, then I think I aggravated something.

“The trainer said it was stemming from the neck down,” he added. “By the end of the first set, I was pretty numb in the bottom two fingers. I could still hit it pretty hard; I was just having trouble controlling it, you know. I didn’t really have full deal.”

Cilic will now be faced with the daunting task of either Rafael Nadal or Andy Murray in Thursday night semifinal. That match is ongoing early in the first set.


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33 Comments for Cilic Avoids Colossal Collapse, Keeps Composure to Reach First Slam SF

Colin Says:

Great stuff! Murray won the first set, and seemed to have the mix just right, but there are signs he’s dropping back to passive mode in the second. But now there’s a break (possibly 10 minutes or more)while the Australia Day fireworks go off. Extraordinary, but I suppose it couldn’t be avoided by any trick of scheduling.


steve Says:

Nadal retires from the match!

A shame it had to end this way for the defending champion. That’s two years in a row this has happened.


Colin Says:

Nadal retires in the third set. For a long time I’ve been insisting he is near the end of his career, because of physical wear, but the Rafanatics won’t listen. They think he’s superhuman, or some kind of robot. Last season he lasted long enough to win the Australian Open, then broke down and had to take breaks from the game. This year he has broken down earlier still. The writing is on the wall. I take no pleasure in saying this, as he’s a great player and a nice guy, but reality must be faced.


margot Says:

jane, huh: u missed two sets of fine tennis. Such a shame about Rafa, but looked as if he was gonna lose anyway.
YEEEHAA! Andy into his first AO semi-fina.


Wade Says:

I’m a massive RAFA fan and hate to see this happen. I think the best thing for him is to take time off the game even if it is for like a year. He cant keep coming back to the game not being 100%. He needs to give the knees a rest. F**K the rankings he won French open as an unseeded player and can do it again if his 100%. Think long Term!!!!!!!!!!!


Skorocel Says:

Damn Nadal! Why he had to spoil Murray’s joy from winning?! The Scot played superbly, especially during the crucial points…


Gordo Says:

Oh Voicemale 1 -

Remember me? I was the guy you mocked for saying that Murray was going to take out Nadal.

Well, I said rather than name calling, let’s wait and see who has to eat crow.

Now we know – it ain’t me!!!

As for RAFA – it looks like he is falling to world #4. The Djoker is passing him no matter what after Sunday, and should Murray win against Cilic in the semis (not a given – I know) he will pass Nadal as well.


Kimmi Says:

YAY! I am very happy for Murray. Maybe now people will give Murray credit. He can play Aggressive. Todays match was all aggression from Murray. he hit more winners than rafa. I know that Rafa retired in the third set but the first two sets were brilliant form both. Murray magic. Its about time he wins his first GS..Goodluck murray


steve Says:

Nadal gives the appearance of invincibility because of his relentlessness and willingness to chase down every ball. Plus his on-court manner–constantly grunting, snarling, sweating–conveys the impression of boundless energy.

But you have to pay the price for that kind of game. It is effective (i.e. it wins matches) but not efficient (i.e. it destroys your body). The same thing happened to Lleyton Hewitt.

Much has been of Nadal’s attempts to try to become an offensive player. But it didn’t work. Nadal tried to play more aggressive against Murray. But he missed more of those shots than he made because he was going for too much. It even started to affect his innate defensive game.

Meanwhile, Murray played within himself and had enough variety and tenacity to edge Nadal in all the important points.

I hope and expect that he will do well on clay this year. But I don’t think he will do well until then.


David Says:

Wade

You’ve got your facts mixed up. Rafa never won the FO as an unseeded player. He’s was the No. 4 seed when he won it for the first time. That said, he should not come back until he’s 100% sure his knees are fine, which could mean missing the whole U.S. hardcourt swing. Then he needs to play a sensible clay court schedule, meaning not playing 4 tune-up events before the French. Two would be plenty. Maybe 3 if he loses early at Monte Carlo or Rome. He’s got to be smarter about his scheduling so he can give himself a realistic chance of getting his title back.


Gordo Says:

Murray looked superb out there tonight. If he plays like that then Cilic will be hard pressed to win more than a set.

Tomorrow’s matches now look very interesting.

How much karma would it be if Federer were to win over Davydenko tomorrow and the other 3 semi-finalists were all men who knocked out the 3 guys to last defeat Federer in a Grand Slam event? (Murray defeats Nadal [AO 2009], Cilic defeats Del Potro [USO 2009] and Tsonga defeats Djokovic [AO 2008].


Colin Says:

I think (and I’m quite serious)that the problem some fanatical Nadal fans have is cultural: they’ve seen too many action movies. They see the action heroes who perform impossible feats of strength and endurance, and are impervious to injury. Somehow they expect their sporting hero (and goodness knows Rafa looks like an action star)to be able to do the same in the real world. Sorry, boys and girls, he’s human, and even at his early age, he’s almost worn out.


huh Says:

I feel sad for Roddick, he was in real pain in the shoulders during the match. :(
But he still fough his heart out, his fans must be proud of him coz he lost IMO to a future slam contender. Cilc is a truly great player, a young man with much heart, he’s shown much promise since sometime, so there’s no shame in losing to him, especially when you’re injured badly and still able to push him to five sets. Today Rod wasn’t serving as well as he’s capable of nor was he playing his shots the way he woulda sans the shoulder pain. But he tried his best and that’s all what Roddick can do. He still reached the Qtr, that’s not a to bad performance especially when the compettion is so tough and in a way, I feel satisfied seeing Roddick’s performance under the circumstances coz that leads me to think that without his shoulder pain which certainly hampered his chances today, he woulda beaten Cilic IMO. So that’s not too bad. I wish all the best to Roddick and I hope he comes back to his level best by Wimbledon 2010.

Mrs Von:

Try to take heart, don’t be too sad, try to take this loss in your stride as bravely as you have taken his past losses. You’re a brave lady. I know it’s tough to see your guy losing in the manner the way he lost today, I know how tough it’s to console oneself though it’s easier for us to console others. But all is not lost. Only keep praying for his best. I’m also praying and hoping for Rod’s best. Take care. Please answer, waiting you.

Finally for Cilc fans :

Congratulations on him reaching the semifinal!!

I’m liking him more and more. He’s proving that he wants to improve and also compete with the best, that’s a very good sign. I personally am beginning to think that he’s destined for future glory, he’s already kinda signalled his arrival by reaching the semi toughing out so many difficult matches. Some positives for you, if you’re a Cilc fan:

1) He’s a good learner, he probabaly has learned from his mistakes.

2)He’s determined to fight till the end instead of giving up.

3)He’s not afraid of momentum shifts during the match, he takes that in his stride and focusses even when someone’s trying to run away with the momentum and the match.

4)He’s gaining important wins against big rivals (DP match comes to mind where he finally stopped DP from gaining further ground on him). These wins are especially important for his confidence and confidence is a must to achieve success in the highest level of tennis. This means he’s stepping in the right direction.

5)He’s seemingly not spoiling his chances anymore at slams(match vs Nole at US 08, match vs Haas at Wim 09) like he used to do previously, he’s rather taking them as much as he can. As soon as one knows the art of taking advantage of the opponents’ weaknesses, he’s ready to survive the struggle for existence and excellence, we must say.

Talk about it later.


huh Says:

MRS. MARGOT!!!

ALLEZ MURRAY!!!

ALLEZ MURRAY!!!

ALLEZ MURRAY!!!

:D :D :D


huh Says:

KIMMI!!!

HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY!!!!!!!!!!!


huh Says:

Gordo:

YOU TOLD US SO!!! ;)


huh Says:

HUGE CONGRATULATION TO COLIN, MRS. MARGOT, KIMMI, MRS. JANE AND MYSELF ON THIS SPECTACULAR WIN OF MURRAY! :) :) :)

been there:

You’re already on the path of admiring Murray as you mentioned yesterday. Has this match made you further warm upto Murray? I hope so. Muzza’s not a bad guy , me thinks. :)

And obviuosly tomorrow I’m rootin for your Tsonga tomoro. But first, this is a morale-boosting triumph and proud day for the Murray faithfuls (I included)! :P


David Says:

I think one thing to keep in mind with Rafa too is that he may be 23, but he’s played more than most players have when they’re 26 or 27. That’s because he’s been the No. 2 player since he was 19 years old, which is obviously not normal. If you compare Rafa to Gonzalez, for example, those two have both played around 500 career matches (Gonzo a little more) and Gonzo’s 29. Obviously the way he plays has a lot to do with it too. I’d say it’s the combination of style of play and the fact he was so successful at such a young age.


Cindy_Brady Says:

I’m sorry Roddick has developed shoulder problems along with his other seemingly endless list of orthopedic injuries.

I felt worse for Cilic, a young and upcoming player who was forced to pander to the minutia of Roddick sympathy moans and groans. It obviously disrupted his game and made for some terrible tennis. Cilic let Andy in the match more so than Roddick’s great play did.

Cilic managed to pull it together in the 5th set and play his game finally ignoring Roddick’s medical problems. I’ve got to hand to Cilic, when the chips were down and the whole stadium was routing poor Andy on, it was Cilic at 21 who came of age and put the hammer down.

Bravo Cilic, Bravo.


margot Says:

Hi huh: am over the moon, not only at the win but more at the way Murray played. Also v. glad to see some folks here are reviewing their opinions of Andy. Welcome aboard.
kimmi: mighty karma was made methinks!


huh Says:

Yay Mrs.Margot!!! :)


huh Says:

Cindy Brady:

Roddick did very well despite what he was suffering. I don’t care as to what you think about Roddick.


huh Says:

But yes, Clic also deserves a ton of credit as him beating Rod is no surprise, he can do that even when Roddick’s playing well, no doubt about it. Cilic’s improvement has been glaring in the course of time. He’s beaten Rafa, Murray, DP and Rod etc., deservedly so. He’s a star in making too. Just I hope he remains injury-free.


Rick Says:

It is crazy for you. But I expected Cilic’s win! He would be in the top 10 this year!


Cindy_Brady Says:

Rick,

I said Cilic was going to win from the very beginning. He’s a quality up and coming player only getting better. It’s the Crazy Roddick fanatics who refuse to see the truth.

Roddick is an aging player, now with a host of mounting orthopedic problems. He’s peaked as a player. His best years are behind him. He was unfortunate to have played his best tennis during the Federer era or he might have more slam titles.

But that is the way the cookie crumbles. I wish Roddick and his foundation the best. I just don’t see any more slam titles in his future. His body won’t permit it.


jane Says:

Ah, here’s the Murray comments – on the wrong thread : ) Congrats to all Murray supporters!! YAY!

I give him an excellent shot at winning the whole thing if he’s playing aggressively. If it’s Fed or Davy across the net, this time I am picking Murray to win it.

If it is a Novak vs Murray final – WOOT!! I will be in 7th heaven. I’d love for Nole to repeat, but if he didn’t then I’d be happy for Murray’s first slam title.

BUT -Djoko has Tsonga and probably Fed in his path, whereas Murray has already passed Nadal in 2.5 sets, so he’ll be rested to face what has to be a tired Cilic.

Murray has not even dropped one set yet. Things are looking mighty good for him just now.

Roddick doesn’t sound too bad off based on his presser, as Sean said. So that’s good. He and Cilic played a fun match, which I had no idea who’d win until the last ball was struck because Cilic had shown signs of tightening up throughout and Roddick – what a fight he put on to stay in it. It was a very entertaining. Hope you’re not too deflated Von. Andy looked good and there are so many positives to take away from the match; if he can play as he did in sets 3 & 4 more often, he’ll win another major.


sar Says:

Didn’t see the match. Did Roddick take alot of MTO’s? It’s his shoulder and not his knee?

Crap, this result blows my final dream matchup.


jane Says:

sar, not a lot, but a couple. He took one offical one, during which he was given pain killers that seemed to really help, and then I think he was seen by a trainer again at one of the change overs. It was a good match.

Since your dream Nole/Rafa final is blown, who’d you want to see now? Koyla and Nole?


huh Says:

jane says:

“I give him an excellent shot at winning the whole thing if he’s playing aggressively. If it’s Fed or Davy across the net, this time I am picking Murray to win it.”

God bless Murray and may he win!

“If it is a Novak vs Murray final – WOOT!! I will be in 7th heaven. I’d love for Nole to repeat, but if he didn’t then I’d be happy for Murray’s first slam title.”

No problem if this happens. At least it’d quiet all the Murray hating Federer fans who need eating humble pie very big time.


been there Says:

huh says:
“been there:
You’re already on the path of admiring Murray as you mentioned yesterday. Has this match made you further warm upto Murray? I hope so. Muzza’s not a bad guy , me thinks. :)”

LOL huh…baby steps!! Now, I’m trying not to read his interviews and British media spin…’coz I find that I project the OTT stuff they write about him, especially last year, on him. It’s the nature of a tennis-fan.

About the match, I was unable to watch it live. I’ve just watched some replay in the past few minutes & Murray indeed played very well. He out-Rafad Rafa in the defence! And he was a bit more aggressive, so didn’t bore my mind out! (Remember, baby-steps!!…so my criticisms are still there. lol)

I still find him as annoying as ever…I may have to watch his remaining matches with my eyes closed (hope the technology for that has already been developed somewhere in Japan) so that I don’t have to watch him yell C’MON with his mouth wiiide open..(see the type of silly stuff a fan picks on when they don’t like a player? lol)

All in all, Murray played super this match, and if he keeps up this level, he might get AO. Courtesy of Sue Barker of the BBC “Whisper it softly,….” It’s just around the corner

However, Cilic-Murray, I’m firmly Team Cilic. :))


huh Says:

been there:

Sure Murray again showed some histrionics today, but I was loving his every move. ;)


huh Says:

ok been there:

enjoy your Cilic guy! :)


sar Says:

I guess the semi-final for me now would be Nole vs. Fed and whoever takes that should win it all. I don’t care about the other half anymore.

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