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