Cilic battles past giant-killer Muller

Seventh seed Marin Cilic is through to the Wimbledon semi-finals after beating Gilles Muller in a thrilling five-set clash.

The Croat – who won the US Open three years ago for his maiden Grand Slam triumph – stayed on course for a second major trophy after grinding past Muller 3-6, 7-6 (8-6), 7-5, 5-7, 6-1 on Court 1.

Muller came close to setting up a dream semi-final appearance of his own, but ultimately could not follow up his gruelling fourth-round victory over Rafael Nadal – despite starting strongly.

Cilic found himself on the receiving end early in the match, as Muller claimed the first set courtesy of two late breaks.

But the 6ft 6in Croat saved a trio of break points midway through the second set and then narrowly edged the tie-breaker to level the scores.

The third set was tightly contested, with no advantage on offer for either player until Cilic pounced in the 12th game. Giving away three break and set points, Muller saved the first two but gave away the third as Cilic opened up a two-sets-to-one lead.

Gilles Muller

To Muller's credit, he came back in the fourth set, saving break points in the sixth and eighth games before claiming a break of his own in the 11th for a 6-5 lead, holding on to serve out the set.

Unfortunately for Muller, he finally ran out of steam in the fifth. Cilic earned an opening in the second game, and took full advantage by smoking a forehand winner from a 121mph serve.

The writing was on the wall when Cilic broke again two games later to take a 4-0 lead. Try as he might, Muller could not get back in the match from there, as Cilic held on to clinch the massive victory.

"It means a lot. It's an amazing achievement, three times I got stuck in the quarters," said Cilic, who finally reached the last four in his 11th year at Wimbledon.

"It was a real hard fought battle, Gilles was serving unbelievable.

"It was just a couple of points deciding the match. I kept my cool. It was a relief to finally do it."

Next up for Cilic is Sam Querrey, after the American upset World No 1 Andy Murray on Centre Court. Back in 2012, Cilic and Querrey played the second longest match in Wimbledon history, lasting more than five and a half hours.

“Hopefully it’s not the longest one ever,” said Cilic.

“Sam plays really well, especially this season. Hopefully I can get into my rhythm and play good tennis.”

Experience the full, extensive coverage of Wimbledon 2017 on FOX Sports Play, where you can watch all the matches, highlights, interviews, bloopers and much more. Don’t miss it!

Comments