R1 : Karlovic (CRO) d Blake (USA) : 6/7 4/6 6/3 7/6 7/5
R2 : Cilic (CRO) d Fish (USA) : 4/6 6/3 6/7 6/1 8/6
R3 : B.Bryan/M.Bryan (USA) d Karanusic/Zovko (CRO) : 6/3 6/1 6/3
R4 : Cilic (CRO) d Blake (USA) : 6/3 6/3 4/6 6/2
R5 : B.Bryan (USA) d Karanusic (CRO) : 5/7 6/3 7/6
Cilic was still a junior when Ivan Ljubicic led Croatia to its first title in Bratislava four years ago. Earlier this year he showed signs of forming a good team with Mario Ancic, Croatia’s other player from 2005. But with Ancic suffering another bout of mononucleosis and likely to be out for another few months, Cilic has become the team leader, backed up by Ivo Karlovic, whose five-set victory over James Blake on Friday was a crucial building block of this victory.
Playing in his patriotic red-and-white chequered Croatian shirt, Cilic survived an early scare, when Blake had him at 15-40 in the opening game, the American racing out of the blocks with visibly positive intent. But after those initial chances went begging, Cilic gradually grew into the match, and emerged from a period of three successive breaks with the chance to serve for the first set.
Blake was broken early in the second, and by the time Cilic took a two-sets lead, he was outclassing the American. When Cilic broke to lead 2-0 in the third, it was looking ominous for the Americans. But Blake broke back straight away, only to wobble again at 3-4. Five times Cilic had break point, five times Blake saved it, one of them with the luckiest of stone-dead netcords. Having missed his chance, Cilic was broken in the next game, and Blake served out the third set. But any hope of a revival was crushed in the second game of the fourth set, when Cilic again made his groundstrokes tell. He broke Blake, and could have broken again as Blake’s serve came under constant bombardment. And the bombardment finally told on the American, when he was broken in the eighth game, Cilic sealing victory with an in-to-out crosscourt forehand.
« I think this was one of the best matches I’ve played. I was a little tired from the five sets on Friday, and today I played a lot of it on adrenaline, the crowd was carrying me throughout the match. I really played well, I felt good on court, moved really well, and even though I lost the third set I felt I was playing good and my tactics were perfect, so I kept going and eventually broke him. » – Cilic