At age 33, Marin Cilic is still playing good ball. A round after knocking out the top Russian in relative ease at the French Open, today he rallied from a set down to defeat the No. 2 Russian Andrey Rublev 5-7, 6-3, 6-4, 3-6, 7-6[10-2].
Cilic advanced to his first Slam semifinal in over four years. And he is the only non-Big 4 on the rankings to have made the semifinals at all four Slams. He finished with a huge serving day ripping 33 aces to just two double faults. He had 88 winners in the 4 hour, 10 minute battle.
“Andrey plays a difficult game,” said Cilic. “Serves big, hits big. You don’t have many chances and you have to keep up with your level and I did that. Unfortunately, I lost that fourth set. I felt I was close to get the break maybe, but Andrey played really well and when you play this long it’s always going to be a little bit up and down during the match.
Rublev falls to 0-5 in Slam finals. But this time, at least he won a set!
“I couldn’t manage the emotions the previous times,” the 24-year-old said of his struggles in this round. “And now it was the closest ever time that I was able to go through to be in semis. Then again, the same thing, I didn’t manage the emotions.
“I don’t know if I did it better compared to other matches. At least I did a better score and I was closer than other matches, but still, it is the same thing… There are so many things I need to improve. Probably the most positive thing: that I did one more quarterfinal. Yeah, that’s it. The rest I need to improve so many things.”
In the night match, Casper Ruud got through to his first Slam semifinal topping Holger Rune 6-1, 4-6, 7-6(2), 6-3.
In this first all-Scandinavian French Open quarterfinal, Ruud rolled out to a quick first set. The teen went to his bag of tricks, mixing it up with his drop shots, net play and powerful groundstrokes to level.
Ruud couldn’t find his best stuff but lifted his level in time for the breaker in the third. He finished with 13 aces and 55 winners.
“These are the matches you dream about playing and hopefully of course even the final, if it’s possible,” Ruud said on court.. “I have to be really focused and bring my ‘A’ game in the semifinal because Marin has played great all week and it’s going to be another tough match.”
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