Murray to face Cilic in semi-final
Originally published on 18/06/16 00:00
Cilic has enjoyed his visits to Queen’s Club ever since he made his debut at the tournament in 2007, when he knocked out Tim Henman in the first round and went on to beat Jo-Wilfried Tsonga before losing to Andy Roddick in the quarter-finals.
The Croatian won the title five years later and was back in the final the following year, only to lose a tight three-set contest against the man he will be facing this afternoon. That was the third of the four titles won at Queen’s Club by Murray, who is attempting this weekend to become the first player in history to win the trophy five times.
Murray appreciates the threat that Cilic could offer. The 27-year-old Croatian, who has won 14 titles, is one of the tallest players in the game at 6ft 6in and plays well on grass. He is coached by Goran Ivanisevic, the former Wimbledon champion, who has helped his fellow countryman with his serve in particular.
“He serves well,” Murray said. “He’s obviously a big guy. He has a big reach on the returns too. He is a good returner. If you look at his stats, often he returns the first serve well throughout the year across all of the surfaces. He’s got good timing on the returns. He’s obviously played extremely well at this event.”
Murray added: “When he’s fit and healthy, he's always around the top of the game.”
Both players were taken the distance in their quarter-finals yesterday. Cilic, who had also needed three sets to beat Feliciano Lopez in the first round, had to come from behind to beat Steve Johnson 6-7, 6-3, 6-4, while Murray beat Kyle Edmund 6-4, 3-6, 6-1 in the first all-British quarter-final in any tournament on the main tour for 14 years.
For once Murray had to share some of the Queen’s Club support with an opponent, though Cilic knows the same will not be true today. However the world No 13 insisted: “I’m going to enjoy that. I always enjoy the atmosphere here.”
There have been eight four-times winners of the Queen’s Club title, including John McEnroe, Boris Becker, Lleyton Hewitt and Roddick in the Open era. Becker, McEnroe and Hewitt were all honoured in an on-court ceremony at Queen’s Club yesterday along with Roy Emerson, who won the title four years in a row from 1963. Murray, who recorded his very first tour-level victory at the tournament in 2005, won the title in 2009, 2011, 2013 and 2015.
The other semi-final will see Milos Raonic take on Bernard Tomic. Raonic, who beat Roberto Bautista Agut 6-1, 6-4 in the quarter-finals, has won all three of his previous meetings with Tomic, including two this year. Tomic booked his place in the last four by beating Gilles Muller 7-6, 4-6, 6-2.
Raonic, who has recruited McEnroe to his entourage for the duration of the current grass-court season, lost to Gilles Simon in the quarter-finals in his only previous appearance at Queen’s Club last year. Until this week Tomic had won only two matches in three previous appearances at the tournament.