Wimbledon: Marin Cilic beats Sam Querrey, reaches first SW19 final

The former US Open champion proved too strong for America’s last man standing, prevailing in four sets.

Wimbledon: Marin Cilic beats Sam Querrey, reaches first SW19 final
Marin Cilic celebrates his win following two hours and 56 minutes of tennis (Getty/Shaun Botterill)
Sam Querrey
1 3
Marin Cilic

Marin Cilic fought past Sam Querrey in four sets to reach his first Wimbledon final on Friday, prevailing 6-7(6), 6-4, 7-6(3), 7-5 in just under three hours.

In a high-quality semifinal, in which both men consistently played well, seventh-seeded Cilic thought from a set down against Querrey, who seemingly ran out of gas at the end following three five-set matches beforehand; the 24th seed had been the first American man since Andy Roddick to reach a Grand Slam semifinal in eight years.

Marin Cilic in action during his semifinal win over Sam Querrey (Getty/Julian Finney)
Marin Cilic in action during his semifinal win over Sam Querrey (Getty/Julian Finney)

It is a second Grand Slam final for Cilic, who won the US Open title back in 2014. The Croat struggled at the beginning of the season, but his results have picked up since he began working with Jonas Bjorkman, and the seventh seed now has the opportunity to win a second slam.

Cilic will face third seed Roger Federer in the final on Sunday.

Strong Cilic proves too tough for Querrey

Heading into this match, many expected this semifinal encounter to be dominated by serve, and that proved to be the case in the opening set. With both Cilic and Querrey firing well both men coasted through their service games, with only a handful of points being conceded on serve, and after just 35 minutes the opening set had gone to a tiebreak; an outcome that many had predicted before the semifinal. In the tiebreak Cilic was able to get a mini break with a huge forehand winner, though a beautiful cross court volley by Querrey a few points later saw the American level up, and a backhand error by the seventh seed handed Querrey a mini break lead. Some bold play by Cilic saw him level things up and later save a set point, though following a delay after someone in the crowd collapsed, two costly backhand errors handed Querrey the opening set 8-6 in the breaker.

Sam Querrey in action today (Getty/Shaun Botterill)
Sam Querrey in action today (Getty/Shaun Botterill)

After the serve-dominated first set, things were a little more open in the early stages of the second set, with both starting to make a few more errors as the wind picked up and began to swirl round Centre Court. Querrey saved a break point in his first and third service game of the set, and Cilic also found things a little more competitive on his own serve, though it eventually was the Croat who broke through, with a backhand passing shot seeing him take the lead in the second set. The seventh seed consolidated his break, and though Querrey held to put the pressure on, a love hold saw Cilic take the second set 6-4.

Marin Cilic in action today (Getty/Shaun Botterill)
Marin Cilic in action today (Getty/Shaun Botterill)

Cilic undoubtedly had the momentum heading into the third set, and, after missing break points in Querrey’s open service game, the former US Open champion broke for a 2-1 lead early on. However, Querrey, who had looked lackluster for around 20 minutes, raised his level and surprisingly broke back. With the American now striking the ball as well as he had been in the first set, the two seemingly settled into the rhythm that they were both in back in the first set, with both men holding serve easily, and a third set tiebreak ensued. Unlike the first tiebreak, which had been hotly contested, here it was Querrey who became nervous, with two errors in a row handing two mini breaks to Cilic; the Croatian took full advantage, with a forehand winner on his first set point at 6-3 putting him just a set from the final.

Marin Cilic celebrates his semifinal win over Sam Querrey (Getty/Michael Steele)
Marin Cilic celebrates his semifinal win over Sam Querrey (Getty/Michael Steele)

An urgent response to falling two sets to one down was needed by the American, and he was able to do that, breaking for a 2-1 lead after both men had previously held, and then saving two break points as he went just three games away from sending the match to a decider. However Cilic, seemingly determined to avoid going to a fifth set, continued to hold and, down 30-0, broke Querrey to even the score up at 4-4 in the set following some wonderful hitting. After falling behind, Querrey was able to survive the pressure and hold to stay in the set the first time, but after Cilic held again the American crumbled; a double fault and two unforced errors handed Cilic two match points, and a booming forehand on the second sent Cilic into his second Grand Slam final.