Flashback: Federer Saves 3 M.P. To Deny Cilic At Wimbledon
Swiss completes 10th comeback from two sets down
Bidding to lift a record-breaking eighth Wimbledon title after runner-up finishes in 2014 and 2015 to Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer cruised through to a quarter-final meeting against Marin Cilic at the All England Club in 2016.
Meeting Cilic for the first time since suffering a straight-sets loss to the Croat in the 2014 US Open semi-finals, Federer entered the pair’s seventh ATP Head2Head clash in peak form after straight-sets victories against Guido Pella, Marcus Willis, Daniel Evans and Steve Johnson.
After a semi-final run at the Fever-Tree Championships, Cilic also made his way onto Centre Court with confidence. The 2014 US Open champion had dropped just one set to reach his third straight quarter-final at SW19. In his two most recent campaigns at the All England Club, Cilic’s title hopes were ended by eventual champion Djokovic on both occasions.
In the opening two sets, Cilic dictated proceedings on Centre Court. The World No. 13 won 87 per cent of first-serve points, landed 12 aces and saved all three break points he faced to establish a two-set advantage. In the third set, the 6’6” right-hander earned three consecutive break points at 3-3, 0/40, but could not find a way through the Swiss.
Boosted by that escape, Federer charged back into the match. The 17-time Grand Slam champion claimed three straight games to force a fourth set, where he survived three match points. On two of those points, Cilic was unable to find the court on second-serve returns.
“If we would go back to play again, I would try to be more aggressive on the chances when I had them in the fourth. Maybe there was a slight hesitation [during] some of them,” said Cilic.
After edging a gripping fourth-set tie-break, the seven-time champion completed a 6-7(4), 4-6, 6-3, 7-6(9), 6-3 victory after three hours and 17 minutes. It was the 10th time in Federer’s career that he had won a match from two sets down.
“Today was epic,” said Federer. “[I am] probably going to look back at this as being a great, great match that I played in my career, on Centre Court here at Wimbledon... I'm very, very happy.”
In another thrilling five-set clash, Federer’s title bid was ended in the semi-finals by Milos Raonic. The Swiss, who underwent arthroscopic left knee surgery earlier in the year, ended his 2016 season following the tournament.
One year later, Federer and Cilic met in the championship match at Wimbledon. On that occasion, Federer clinched the trophy with a 6-3, 6-1, 6-4 win to become the first player to win eight Gentlemen’s Singles titles at the All England Club.