Monday , July 4 2022

Cilic defeats Rublev in five sets to reach French Open last four for first time | French Open 2022

Just a year ago, as Marin Cilic fell outside of the top 40 and seemed to lose to a lesser player every week, it was not easy to envision him rebounding back to the very top of his sport. But this year at the French Open he has done so, reaching the semi-final here for the first time in his career by defeating Andrey Rublev, the seventh seed, 5-7, 6-3, 6-4, 3-6, 7-6(2) in one of the best matches of the tournament so far.

“The win comes from being me, I played that kind of tennis the whole match, especially the fifth set was an incredible battle,” he said. “Andrey played incredibly well, it was an incredibly fair-play performance on the court. A lot of heart. One had to go down and today was my day. Bad luck to him.”

Cilic had already dismantled Daniil Medvedev, the second seed, in straight sets to reach the quarter-finals and by edging past Medvedev’s countryman, he has now further augmented the brilliant career that he has quietly assembled.

After winning the US Open in 2014, reaching a career-high ranking of No 3, leading Croatia to a Davis Cup title and qualifying for two other grand slam finals at Wimbledon and the Australian Open, Cilic has now reached the semi-final of all four grand slam tournaments. With his success in Paris, he will additionally cross the $30m mark for prize money.

He moved on by producing a high quality match and one that primarily played out on his racquet, with Cilic demolishing his forehand from the baseline throughout. Despite Rublev’s own considerable firepower, Cilic overpowered him for large parts of the match, incredibly finishing with 88 winners to Rublev’s 35.

While Rublev scrapped well to remain in contact during the final set, even saving a match point on his serve, by the match tiebreak the Croat’s boldness and experience set him apart. He played a great tiebreak, the first ever seen on Court Philipe Chatrier, filled with nuclear forehand winners and big serving, to advance.

In the wide-open bottom half, Cilic now has an incredible, unexpected opportunity to complete his set of grand slam finals as he faces Casper Ruud, the 8th seed, or Holger Rune in the semi-finals.

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