Cilic Wins Match and Battle of Aces against Muller, Querrey Beats Wawrinka, and Tiafoe Advances at Queen’s Club
(June 20, 2018) Top seed Marin Cilic won the battle of aces and the match against Gilles Muller 19 to 17, 4-6, 6-3, 6-3 on Wednesday at Queen’s Club to reach the final eight at the Fever-Tree Championships.
Last year’s Wimbledon finalist is a three-time finalist at Queen’s Club.
“It was difficult (to comeback from a set down), said Cilic. “Opened up nicely. Had two break points, 15-40, and I had a good hit, couple returns. But Gilles held that serve.
“And then after that, on the game where he broke me, he connected really well, few returns. I didn’t serve that well. I was break down, and it was extremely difficult to dig that set back.
“He served really, really good consistently, and, you know, very tricky with left hand. He was hitting good spots everywhere.
“It was definitely not easy. But I upped a little bit my serve from beginning of the second set. Didn’t give him many chances on the return, and that just pushed me to stay in the match and to put back pressure on him.
“Obviously that gave me few more chances on the returns. I got that break, and sort of things opened up a little bit more for me. Started from that point to play a little bit better and even, you know, making few extra returns, making pressure all the time on him.
“I was quite solid. Really happy with the way I pulled it from one set down.”
Cilic will play Sam Querrey next. The American took down Stan Wawrinka 7-5, 6-7, 6-1.
“Both of us obviously can play high quality tennis,” the Croatian said about hi next opponent. “Usually we do, especially this time of the year on grass. We played I believe once maybe here in Queen’s and couple times in Wimbledon. Last year, as well.
“You know, both of us are great players, great, you know, hitters off the ball, serving big. And there is not much that differentiates us.
“But somehow I was the one who was sort of, you know, coming with victories, and maybe because of a little bit more solid game on the return — both of us possess great serves — and that can make a big difference or that small difference. You know, having that in mind even like today, you know, just that, you know, little bit of energy or just being ready for the opportunities, you know, I think that can definitely make a difference.”
Despite his loss to Querrey, three-time major champion Wawrinka feels that he’s on the right track after missing six months of the tour last year due to knee surgery.
“Well, it’s for sure some frustration to lose it, but I have to look the right thing, the right way,” he said. “I think the level is there. I think I’m moving quite good on the grass. I was feeling good. I had a lot of chance in the first set. Didn’t make it. I feel I could have made it better.
“He was playing really good. He’s a tough player to play on the grass. He loves the grass. He always have great result. He won here. Semifinal last year.
“It was a tough match, but I think in general this is a positive loss for me, if I really look the right thing in the right way. For sure, I’m sad and frustrated because I need to win matches, I want to win matches, and I want more. That’s for sure.
“But there is a lot to take in the right way, and I’m sure if I can, as I say, keep doing the right thing day by day, building on this and keep trying to improve, the result will come. I need to be patient with that.”
“All I know is that I personally feel really good with the way I’m practicing, the way I’m moving and the way I’m playing my game. Now all I need is to keep playing match like today, like two days ago, also, try to win little by little, get the confidence back, get used to play all those important points, feeling the right way mentally on the court, knowing that when you play a match like that, if you play ten matches like that, then you think less and you know exactly what you’re going to do at 5-5, you know what you’re going to do in the tiebreak, and that’s how you start winning again.”
Also advancing to the elite eight in London is ATP World Tour #NextGen Frances Tiafoe of the United States who defeated Leonardo Mayer 6-4, 2-6, 6-4.
“I thought it was a really good match. Played him once before in Shanghai in the quallies, last-round quallies. It was another tight match. I won 6-4 in the third.
“So I knew it was going to be tough today. I came out playing great. Second set had a little lapse, but third set was extremely tight and I was happy to get through.”
“Pretty pumped,” Tiafoe said of reaching the final eight. “I mean, grass hasn’t been my favorite surface at all in the past here. I had unbelievable prep, staying here after French Open, practicing on grass for a couple weeks and practicing at the LTA with a bunch of great players. It’s paying off, luckily.”
“Yeah, it’s been a really good year for me,” said the Delray Beach Open champion. “I’ve won a lot of matches unexpected. I started the year pretty poor.
“Yeah, I mean, starting to just really enjoy it, take expectations off. Obviously a ton of young guys my age, Americans, have a lot of expectations. I kind of just went back to what I did best, enjoying the sport I love and whatever happens happens.
“I have been able to bring some good tennis doing that. Also being home and spending more time at home, friends, family, that’s been helping me a lot. I think that’s pretty much the answer for me, as well.”
Tiafoe will face a friend in the next round, France’s Jeremy Chardy.
“Really good player,” said Tiafoe. “So far he’s been having an unbelievable grass court season. He won a big challenger. Made finals last week in ‘s-Hertogenbosch. Obviously he’s feeling good.
“Try and slow him down, try and get it done on Friday.”