Croatian player Marin Cilic had to dig deep on his way to defeating Australian player Marinko Matosevic in an epic 5 setter. Cilic managed to come back from a two sets down and prevail in 3 hours and 57 minutes, winning 5-7 2-6 6-4 6-2 6-4 6-2.
In the first set, both player exchanged breaks early on before the world-number-62 was able to break the Croat’s serve in the twelfth and final game of the set to capture it 7-5 in 57 minutes. Cilic won 57% of points on serve, hitting 10 winners and 22 unforced errors. On the other hand, Matosevic won 64% of points on serve and hit 9 winners and 14 unforced errors.
The Australian kept the momentum going in set two and after taking Cilic’s serve twice in the process, he stormed to a 6-2 win without facing a break point in this set. Cilic didn’t serve very well in this set as his 1st serve percentage was at 48% and struggled to win points after his serve found it’s mark. Both players won 50% of the rallies that lasted between 3 and 8 shots, but Matosevic won 78% of the rallies that lasted for 9 shots of longer. After the second set, the Australian seemed to be the favorite to win this match, but the world number 13 wasn’t done yet.
Cilic needed just one break in the third set to close the set out 6-4 winning 76% of points on first serve and 40% of receiving points and hitting 15 winners and 10 unforced errors.
In the fourth set, the 23-years old Croat got two breaks on his way to win the set 6-2 in 33 minutes, dropping only 4 points on serve. Cilic hit 8 winners and 4 unforced errors in the fourth set to Matosevic’s 6 winners and 9 unforced errors.
The faith of the match was going to unfold in the decider and Cilic had six chances to break the Australian’s serve early in the set, but couldn’t convert any of them. However, he eventually managed to take his opponent serve in the sixth game of the set. This break was enough for the Croat to advance into the next round with a 6-4 win. Throughout the match, both player hit a huge amount of winners and unforced errors with Cilic hitting 47 winners and 63 UEs and Matosevic at 35 winners and 58 UEs.
Cilic, who will face German Daniel Brands in the second round, said: “It was uncomfortable for me at the beginning but I was glad to keep in the match and I felt good at the end.” Cilic and Brands met twice before with the Croat winning both meeting. Their most recent encounter was a few weeks ago in Umag.