Federer marches on
Originally published on 16/11/17 00:00
With the Swiss already assured of qualification and the Croatian unable to avoid elimination, there was little on the line for both players – apart from the small matter of 200 ranking points and $191,000 in prize money.
The match was played in the right spirit, though, and there was a competitive edge from first ball to last. Cilic weathered an early storm before nicking the opening set in a tiebreak, however he was still unable to end his London jaunt on a high note.
Both players created opportunities to break at the start of the second set, but there was no significant breakthrough. The games ticked by at pace before Cilic faltered in the tenth game.
The world No.5 produced a poor service game – while struggling with nerves – at a critical juncture. He was tormented by unforced-errors and a wayward backhand meant a decider was required.
The crowd had the third set they craved, but Federer was not keen on exerting too much energy with a semi-final on the horizon. He ripped a forehand return winner to establish a 2-0 lead and was in cruise control from that moment onwards.
Cilic was shell-shocked at how quickly the match had slipped from his grasp, but his shaky forehand contributed to his demise. The Swiss magician was in exhibition mode in the closing stages and he wrapped up the decider in just 26 minutes.
Federer will take on ether Dominic Thiem or David Goffin in the last four on Saturday afternoon.