Cilic def. Murray (2) : 7/5 6/2 6/2 !!!
Marin Cilic did not let it worry him that he had lost to Andy Murray in all three of their previous meetings. He was unperturbed by the Scot’s blistering form in 2009, that has seen him win five ATP World Tour titles already. Marin Cilic simply rose to the occasion in front of a packed Arthur Ashe stadium Tuesday afternoon and produced one of the finest performances of his young career to send the World No. 2, and last year’s runner-up, crashing out of the US Open 7-5, 6-2, 6-2 and reach his first Grand Slam quarter-final.
“I’m feeling tremendously happy. Of course it’s biggest result for me so far. And after reaching the last 16 four times, was a little bit relief after I won it. Now that I don’t have this blockade in my head, I can look forward, and, of course, focus on the next matches.”
After saving four break points in the first set, including two that were set points when he trailed 4-5 15/40, Cilic hit back to earn the first service break of the match at 5-5 as a Murray forehand clipped the net and landed wide. More uncharacteristic loose errors for Murray proved costly as Cilic closed out the one-set lead when the Scot sliced a backhand into the net.
While it can be said Murray was below par, Cilic was quick to take advantage and his brave, aggressive hitting from the back of the court paid dividends in the second and third sets as Murray had no answer to the Croatian’s dominance on the baseline. Cilic broke serve four more times to set himself up with the chance to serve out victory, and did so in style – with three blistering service deliveries propelling him to match point, which he converted after two hours and eight minutes.
In explaining his devastating performance in the final two sets, Cilic said: “I stayed really focused on what I have to do, and I think the break in each of the last two sets helped a lot, as I was I was putting him under a lot of pressure and serving good, I would say. He was a little bit struggling to get on my serve to win few points in a row, so that was key thing for me. And of course definitely that I was playing from inside the court really good and moved him around and didn’t rush too much.
“When I had my chance, I was going for him. When I was in the tougher position I would stay in the rally pretty good. Physically wise I was feeling okay and moving pretty nice.”
In defeating a Top 3 player for the first time in his career, Cilic became the first Croatian to reach the US Open quarter-finals since Goran Ivanisevic went on to reach the semi-finals in 1996.
The Zagreb resident is contesting just his second US Open main draw and joins a group of five players in the Open Era to have reached the quarter-finals in so few attempts. On debut last year he fell to World No. 3 Novak Djokovic in the third round.
For a place in the semi-finals Cilic will face World No. 6 Juan Martin del PotroJuan Carlos Ferrero in straight sets. Cilic lost to del Potro in their first tour-level meeting in the fourth round of the Australian Open at the start of the year. – just five days his senior – who cruised past 2003 finalist
“Definitely he’s a player to watch,” praised Cilic. “I played him there in Australia, and I would say that maybe he’s even here playing a little bit better on the US Open courts. But definitely I think I have my chance. If I take positive things from today, I can put it in the next match, and, of course, take advantage like that. I think he can play really well, but I think I have also some game that can hurt him.”