The quarter of the draw that contained Marin Cilic was the one that most people pinpointed as the section to most likely see a member of the big four fail to make the semi finals, mostly down to the threat of the Croatian who is in great form right now. It turns out that they were right but it would not be Cilic denying Rafael Nadal that spot in the semi finals but his fourth round opponent Gilles Muller.
Muller is finally having a breakthrough at Wimbledon after many years of performing well on the grass to no reward at Wimbledon. 12 years after beating him for the first time, Muller beat Nadal in an epic 5 setter to advance to the quarter finals. Luck was on his side with a very bad line call saving him on break point midway through the decider and he then rode that momentum to eventually convert match point after missing several on multiple service games prior. Nadal’s forehand long down 15-40 at 13-14 was the end to an thriller that Muller definitely deserved to win. He showed nerves of steel and was huge on big points, saving 14 of 16 break points while converting 3 of his own 8 opportunities.
Cilic was long seen as the only player at the tournament who could crash the stranglehold of the big 4 and possibly win it all. He was a finalist at Queens and has taken that form into Wimbledon, winning his first 4 matches in straight sets. Roberto Bautista Agut had barely a sniff in round four as he fell to a 6-2 6-2 6-2 loss to Cilic with the 7th seed deadly on break points – going 7 of 9. “It’s quite high (confidence), considering I’m playing really well last few weeks. I have been extremely good on grass court season and also after finishing clay court season. With all the parts of my game, really satisfied everything is working extremely good. The level is, I would say, quite solid. It’s not probably the best possible but definitely really, really solid, and considering with that, returning well, serving well. I’m moving on the court really good. So with everything, really satisfied.” he said.
Cilic won a three setter at Queens against Muller, edging it 6-4 in the third – something sure to give him confidence. The 5 hours spent on court in the previous round is sure to hinder Muller, whose victory saw him extend his streak of matches won from 2-0 up to 40-0. The round after a big win is where many a player has slipped up but it would likely have always been the case that the Luxembourger would be bested by Cilic regardless.
Prediction – Marin Cilic in 4 sets