Cilic Cruises past Murray in Rotterdam

Marin Cilic in Rotterdam (Thanks to asia.eurosport.com )

Marin Cilic in Rotterdam (Thanks to asia.eurosport.com )

Marin Cilic has beaten Andy Murray 6-3, 6-4 in the quarter-finals of the ATP 500 ABN AMRO World Tennis tournament in Rotterdam.

Cilic did not waste any time in asserting himself over a man who has beaten him 9 of the 10 times they have met. The Croat broke Murray in the second game of the match, rallying with the Scot who hit an easy forehand into the net. It was the perfect play for Cilic who is more prone to go for broke than sit back and wait for opponent’s errors. That is more the game of Murray. Cilic’s patience, no doubt intended to work his way into a rhythm and go for his shot when the opportunity arose, showed up the rust in Murray’s game and no doubt put doubts in the mind of the Scot as to how ready he was to take on a man on a 7 match indoor winning streak, a streak that has not seen him lose a single set.

Cilic had his own game on form, too, particularly his serve. An ace cemented his lead at 4-1. And he held serve to take the set 6-3.

The Croat’s form held into the second set, too. At 2-2, deuce, Murray serving, the Croat took control of the rally and hit a forehand winner of a short ball to get break point. Cilic took his opportunity, helped a little by Murray who went for a big forehand which sailed long.

Leading Murray in a match is not new to Cilic. Nor is losing such a lead. And Murray did threaten to turn matters around, leading 0-30 on Cilic’s serve in the next game. But Cilic’s first serve percentage was high at 64% and he was winning 86% of those points. The Croat fought his way back into the game and hit an ace, one of 8 in the match, to lead 4-2.

Hitting winning volleys, smashes, ground-strokes and serves, the Croat confidently served for the match at 5-4. He did not falter this time. He left that to his opponent who hit a forehand into the net to hand Cilic two match points. The Croat kept his forehand deep and again it was Murray who could not keep up as he hit a forehand cross-court long and the match was Cilic’s.

It was as clean a match as the Croat could hope for against a man who has gotten the better of him 9 of the ten times they have played. A cool display that saw 23 winners to 18 errors and a cool head when matters got close.

Cilic is two matches closer to winning his first ATP 500 tournament after winning 10 250 ones. In this form, and with his confidence boosted by a win over Murray, it is hard to see him not achieving that milestone. Good things come to those who wait after all, and Cilic has been waiting some time to get back on court and strut his stuff. 8 consecutive wins and 16 sets in a row later, he is proving himself to be quite the strutter indeed.

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Christian Deverille

Christian Deverille is a tennis writer with a diploma in Freelance Sports Writing from the London School of Journalism. He loves all things tennis, most of all the Federer and del Potro forehands.
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