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Cilic into Wimbledon final

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Originally published on 14/07/17 00:00

The 28-year-old will attempt to to become the first Croatian man in 16 years to win the title after he defeated Sam Querrey 6-7(6) 6-4 7-6(3) 7-5 in a keenly-contested semi-final duel on Centre Court.

“It’s unbelievable,” admitted the overjoyed Croatian. From the first round in the tournament I’ve been playing really great tennis and today was a really hard-fought battle. I think Sam played at a really high level, especially in the first set. He was serving big and hitting really big from the back of the court but I had my chances. I was 4-1 up in the tiebreak but didn’t covert my opportunities.

“After that, I was a little bit better in the return games and was making him work hard on his service games. Overall, I think the level was really very high.”

Previous meetings between the pair in SW19 suggested this latest encounter would be lengthy, and it turned out to be the case. Both competitors were resolute behind their booming serves and no break-point chances were created as a tiebreak was required to settle the first set.

Locked at six apiece, there was a brief stoppage in play as a member of the crowd required medical assistance – and it upset Cilic’s rhythm. On the resumption, the 28-year-old miscued two backhands and gifted the opener to his rival.

Querrey had been involved in three consecutive five-setters in the tournament and past exertions appeared to contribute to his drop in intensity in the second set. He lost serve – for the first time in the match in the seventh game – and Cilic roared in delight as he eventually squared the contest.

The pair traded breaks in the early stages of the third set as baseline rallies occurred more frequently. A tiebreak was called into action and it was convincingly claimed by Cilic as his rival paid the price for poor decision-making.

Querrey responded well to the disappointment of losing the shootout and channeled his frustration in the right way. He established an early advantage in the fourth set however Cilic was not to be denied his spot in the final and he won five of the last six games to continue his fine grass-court season.

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