Cilic was just too good for me, admits defeated Muller
Marin Cilic rained down 33 aces as he reached the Wimbledon semi-finals for the first time with a five-set win over Gilles Muller. Croatian World No.6 Cilic has been tipped for the title since day one by his compatriot and former coach Goran Ivanisevic, the 2001 champion.
And he showed the tenacity that may be required to take the next step as he beat Rafael Nadal's conqueror Muller 3-6 7-6 (8-6) 7-5 5-7 6-1 on Court One.
It took three-and-a-half hours for Cilic to fend off 34-year-old Luxembourg left-hander Muller, but the effort paid off as he teed up a surprise semi-final clash with Sam Querrey.
"When I won the second set, I felt that I was the one who just started to play a little bit better. I was the one who started to make a little bit more pressure and I was more into Gilles' service games," Cilic said.
Cilic looked to be taking control in the third. He held throughout and broke for the first time at 6-5. During that service break, Cilic ended a remarkable streak of Muller's. Up until that game, which included 15 Muller service games and the second-set tie-break, the left-hander had not lost a point while serving into the ad court.
Down two sets to one, though, Muller did not fade. He broke Cilic at 5-5 and continued to mix up his serve effectively. The Luxembourg left-hander won eight of the final 10 points in the fourth set to force a decider.
"I just reset myself after the fourth set. I didn't want to change anything because I didn't play too bad a set, and I just continued on that path," Cilic said.
But in the final set, Cilic seized control and didn't let go. He broke Muller twice and converted his first match point.
Muller said: "What was very tough was the beginning of the fifth set. He played a phenomenal game to break me.
"That's not the way you want to start a fifth set. He was just too good at the end."