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Resurgent Cilic Reaches US Open Semis

New York, U.S.A.

Cilic© Getty ImagesMarin Cilic is through to his second major semi-final.

A nerveless display from Marin Cilic saw the Croat reach his first Grand Slam semi-final in nearly five years on Thursday as he defeated Tomas Berdych 6-2, 6-4, 7-6(4) in the US Open quarter-finals.

For a place in his first Grand Slam final, Cilic will face either Roger Federer or Gael Monfils, who contest the Arthur Ashe night match.

“It feels amazing,” Cilic told Darren Cahill in his on-court interview. “I’ve had tough times the past couple of years. I’m really happy that things are working out with my team. It's paying off, especially in the past few months. I'm just enjoying my time on the court."

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The Croat is through to his first Grand Slam semi-final since reaching the last four at the 2010 Australian Open (l. to Murray). Following in the footsteps of coach Goran Ivanisevic, he is the first Croat to reach the US Open semi-finals since Ivanisevic in 1996 (l. to Sampras).

After two failed attempts in the US Open quarter-finals (2009, ’12), Cilic made a fast start against Berdych, earning a break in the first game, aided by two double faults. Trailing by a double break at 1-4, Berdych clawed back one of the breaks, but lost serve again in the seventh game to surrender the opener.

An early break of serve in the second set put Cilic on the path to a commanding two-set lead, sparking an attempted comeback from Berdych, who had only rallied to win from two sets down twice before in his career. 

The Czech broke at the start of the third set, but a close call on a double bounce in the seventh game rattled Berdych and Cilic capitalised to draw level. In the decisive tie-break, Cilic reeled off the final three points from 4-4, confidently closing out victory in two hours and 12 minutes.

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“It was a truly amazing day for me,” said Cilic, who also beat Berdych in their last meeting in the Wimbledon third round. “It was very difficult conditions, very gusty. I adjusted a bit better than Tomas today and I think what helped me was getting that lead at the beginning of the match. I was serving really well; I could rely on it. I think overall I played pretty good tactically and I'm pretty, pretty happy with everything. 

“We were both hitting big and I think it came down to who was going to put pressure on the other guy. I think I did that a little bit better today; I was returning a little bit better. Overall, I felt I used the wind a little bit better to my advantage.”

The 28-year-old Berdych was bidding to reach his second major semi-final of the season, after losing to Stan Wawrinka in the last four at the Australian Open. The right-hander dropped to a 4-7 record in Grand Slam quarter-final matches.

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