Friday, July 14, 2017

Querrey falls to Cilic in Wimbledon semifinals

Marin Cilic, serving at Indian Wells last year, reached his
second Grand Slam final. He won the 2014 U.S. Open.
Photo by Paul Bauman
   The task was too tall for Sam Querrey.
   In more ways than one.
   Coming off three consecutive five-set victories, the 29-year-old San Francisco native faced a Grand Slam champion today in a semifinal matchup of 6-foot-6 (1.98-meter) players at Wimbledon.
   Marin Cilic, 28, triumphed 6-7 (6), 6-4, 7-6 (3), 7-5 to reach his second major final. He overpowered Kei Nishikori of Japan for the 2014 U.S. Open title.
   Querrey, the first player to win three straight five-set matches at Wimbledon since Janko Tipsarevic of Serbia 10 years ago, must settle for becoming the only active U.S. man to advance to a Grand Slam semifinal and earning $719,451. The champion will pocket $2,877,805.
   "Before I go for major titles, I need to take some baby steps,” Querrey, who now lives in Santa Monica in the Los Angeles area, told reporters. “I do feel I can. I feel that if I play well, my level is at a high enough point where I can beat those top guys.”
   Querrey beat Novak Djokovic in the third round at Wimbledon last year, Rafael Nadal in the Acapulco final in March and Andy Murray in the Wimbledon quarterfinals this year.
   Djokovic, who remains in a slump, had just won the French Open to complete a career Grand Slam, and personal problems may have contributed to his loss to Querrey. Murray hobbled with a sore hip after leading Querrey by a set and a break on Thursday.
   Cilic, the seventh seed and tallest Wimbledon finalist since the Open Era began in 1968, will face Roger Federer, seeded third, on Sunday at 6 a.m. PDT (ESPN). Federer, a father of four who will turn 36 on Aug. 8, beat Tomas Berdych, the Wimbledon runner-up in 2010, 7-6 (4), 7-6 (4), 6-4.
   Federer, the oldest finalist at the All England Club since 39-year-old Ken Rosewall in 1974, seeks his first Wimbledon singles title since 2012. He shares the record of seven with Pete Sampras (1993-2000) and William Renshaw of Great Britain (1881-89). Federer would be the oldest Wimbledon men's champion in the Open Era.
   The Cilic-Querrey match lasted "only" 2 hours, 56 minutes. Cilic outlasted Querrey 17-15 in the fifth set in 5 1/2 hours in the third round at Wimbledon in 2012. It's the second-longest match by time in Wimbledon history behind John Isner's 11-hour, 5-minute victory over Nicolas Mahut spanning three days in 2010.
   Cilic improved to 5-0 against Querrey (3-0 at Wimbledon) and became the first Croat to reach a Wimbledon singles final since Goran Ivanisevic edged Pat Rafter of Australia 9-7 in the fifth set in 2001.
   Cilic played brilliantly today. He had 25 aces and only one double fault, won 88 percent of the points on his first serve (69 of 78) and 67 percent on his second delivery (28 of 42), ripped 70 winners and committed 21 unforced errors. Cilic converted 4 of 14 break-point opportunities.
   Querrey, seeded 24th, finished with 13 aces and three double faults. He won 48 percent of the points on his second serve (26 of 54) and had only three break-point chances, capitalizing on two.
   Federer leads Cilic 6-1 in their head-to-head series, In their last meeting, Cilic led two sets to none and held three match points before falling in the Wimbledon quarterfinals last year. Cilic dominated Federer 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 in the semifinals of the 2014 U.S. Open.
   Cilic, one of the nicest guys on the tour, served a four-month doping suspension in 2013. He said he inadvertently ingested a stimulant in a glucose tablet bought at a pharmacy.

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