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Muller’s Wimbledon run ended by Cilic

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Originally published on 12/07/17 00:00

The Luxembourger, who stunned Rafael Nadal in a five-set marathon on Monday, took Cilic the distance but ultimately fell 3-6 7-6(6) 7-5 5-7 6-1 in his first Grand Slam quarter-final since the 2008 US Open, his second successive loss to the Croatian after their semi-final showdown at Queen’s Club last month.

Seven-time Wimbledon champion Roger Federer will face former finalist Tomas Berdych, while 2014 US Open champion Cilic will face first-time Grand Slam semi-finalist Sam Querrey, who beat Andy Murray to become the first American man to reach the last four at a Grand Slam since Andy Roddick in 2009, also at SW19.

And on the evidence of what he saw, Muller said Cilic has as good a chance as any to emerge victorious on Sunday.

“I think anybody still in the draw still has a big chance,” said the 34-year-old. “I mean, it's the quarter-finals. Now he's in the semis. Just two more matches to go. I think he's able to beat Querrey, just as much as Sam is able to beat Cilic. Then the final, anything can happen.”

Muller insisted his four-hour 48-minute tussle with Nadal, which finished 15-13 in the fifth set, did not leave him too tired to give a good account of himself against Cilic – he simply said the No.6 seed was too good on the day.

“I think I started out pretty good on the first set,” said Muller, who will rise to a new career-high ranking of No.22 in the world on Monday. “I thought I was also playing pretty well in the second set. I had break points. I was up a mini-break in the tiebreak. I had a good chance to go up two sets to love.

“Marin was able to win the second set, then started playing better. He was a better player in the fourth set for sure – he was dominating that set. Somehow I stayed in there and managed to win it. I don't know how.”

Any momentum Muller hoped to have gained by levelling up the match soon dissipated, however, as Cilic grabbed an early break to open the final set.

“Then what was very tough was the beginning of the fifth set,” Muller admitted. “He played a phenomenal game in the beginning to break me. It was tough to take that, because that's not the way you want to start out a fifth set, especially if you just won the fourth, run behind the score all the time. He was just too good at the end.”

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