Marin Cilic grinds past Andrey Rublev in Roland Garros slugfest
Croatian veteran Marin Cilic overcame Russian seventh seed Andrey Rublev in five sets to reach a first semi-final at the French Open.
The 33-year-old, who won the US Open in 2014 and was a Wimbledon finalist three years later, won 5-7 6-3 6-4 3-6 7-6 (2) after a deciding-set tie-break.
In doing so Cilic became only the fifth active player to have reached the last four of every grand slam after Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray.
After their four-hour, 14-minute slugfest, Cilic said: “The win comes from being me, I played that kind of tennis the whole match. Especially the fifth set was an incredible battle.
“Andrey played incredibly well, it was an incredibly fair-play performance on the court.
“A lot of heart. One had to go down and today was my day. But Andrey also played an incredible match. Bad luck to him.
“I felt more tired emotionally out there because Andrey plays a difficult game, he serves big, hits big, and you don’t have many chances.
“You have to keep up with your level, which I did. Unfortunately I lost that fourth set. I thought I was close to getting the break.
“When you play this long, there will always be ups and downs in the match but I kept my focus in the fifth.”
Despite dropping a tight first set to one of the biggest ball-strikers on tour, it was Cilic whose power-hitting came good as he manoeuvred Rublev around the court to great effect.
Cilic arrived in Paris with a 4-4 match record for the European clay swing, but he has excelled at Roland Garros, seeing off Attila Balazs, Marton Fucsovics, Gilles Simon, Medvedev and Rublev to charge to the last four.
The Croatian’s Roland Garros run has seen him rise to No 17 in the ATP Live Rankings, six spots higher than where he began the tournament.
WTA not satisfied with China over Peng Shuai explanations
The WTA are at odds with China.
Why Roger Federer is still the highest paid star in tennis
Leaving Nike and freeing himself to sign long-term deals with Uniqlo and On Running has proved to be hugely lucrative for Federer.
Former US Open champion confirms new coach for 2023
Bianca Andreescu has reunited with an old mentor.
Davis Cup: Australia produce stunning fightback to reach final
Australia show fight to down Croatia and take a step towards another Davis Cup title.
Casper Ruud delighted with season despite big final losses
Casper Ruud says he has overachieved.
Frances Tiafoe reveals his preferred holiday destination
‘Big Foe’ cools his heels in Turks and Caicos.
Who is Carlos Alcaraz’s girlfriend: Maria Gonzalez Gimenez
Carlos Alcaraz is dating Maria Gonzalez Gimenez, a law student and aspiring tennis pro.
Australian Open 2023: Who are the early favourites for the men’s singles
Novak Djokovic is out to complete La Decima at the Australian Open in 2023.
Rafael Nadal’s beautiful tribute to Roger Federer: ‘A part of my life left with him’
Rafael Nadal on Roger Federer’s emotional farewell.
Patrick Mouratoglou predicts ‘big fight’ between generation of Daniil Medvedev and young guns like Carlos Alcaraz
Generation Medvedev vs generation Alcaraz: Who will win the “fight”.