2017-07-14 11:59:02
Marin Cilic Beats Sam Querrey to Reach Wimbledon Final

11:59, July 14 30 0

WIMBLEDON, England — The enticing semifinal match that could have been staged on Centre Court at the All England Club, if only the seedings played out according to form, would have featured Andy Murray against Rafael Nadal.

That matchup did not happen, but the two players who took the court instead on Friday provided a captivating encounter of their own.

Marin Cilic and Sam Querrey gave the fans a compelling performance, pounding serves, driving ground strokes with authority and, when necessary, demonstrating a feathery touch at the net.

Neither had ever made a Wimbledon final, and Querrey, the 29-year-old from California, was in dogged pursuit of his first final at any Grand Slam event after entering 42 of them. But he will have to wait some more.

Cilic, the No. 7 seed, held up against a strong effort from the 24th-seeded Querrey to win, 6-7 (6), 6-4, 7-6 (3), 7-5, and set a record by reaching his first Wimbledon final in his 11th try. That bested Pat Rafter, who reached the final in his eighth Wimbledon.

Cilic, 28, will play the winner of the second semifinal between the No. 3 seed Roger Federer and the 11th-seeded Tomas Berdych. Federer is looking to reach an 11th Wimbledon final and win an eighth champion’s trophy.

Before the tournament started, Federer said he thought Cilic had a chance to go deep into the tournament.

“That gave me a little bit more belief, a little bit more confidence, that, you know, players and people around are also seeing that I’m in a great form, that I’m able to do great things,” Cilic said after his quarterfinal victory.

But Cilic, who won the United States Open in 2014, also had a favorable draw. The highest seed he had to play was Gilles Müller, the No. 16 seed who upset Nadal.

Querrey, the first American man to reach a Grand Slam singles semifinal since Andy Roddick at Wimbledon in 2009, had played three five-setters in a row entering this match. The last ousted the top-seeded Murray in the quarterfinals.

Cilic and Querrey had met four times before Friday, and Cilic had won them all. But one of the matches, a third-round encounter at the All England Club in 2012, went 17-15 in the fifth set and is the second-longest Wimbledon match at 5 hours 31 minutes.

This one went only 2:56, but Querrey was up a break in the fourth set, and the match had the feel of a five-setter. But Cilic broke back and then broke again, at 6-5, to win.

The final shot was another mighty forehand down the line, followed by a loud scream for everyone on the grounds to hear, perhaps even Federer and Berdych, waiting in the wings for their chance to play.