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How Cilic lost the plot: Chances squandered

Written by Gaurav Bhatt
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Published:July 17, 2017 1:24 am

Marin Cilic broke down during the second set. Reuters

Chances squandered

Federer has not played a match longer than three sets since January and could have been tested if the match went on for three or more hours. For that, Cilic needed to take the opening set, and he had his chances. Up a break point on Federer’s serve at 2-1, Cilic snatched at a backhand return and got broken himself the very next game. Eventually, he handed over the first set with a double fault. The missed chances reminded one of the three match points wasted in last year’s quarterfinal.

Struggling physically

Cilic battled as hard as he could, but he was hampered by the blister in his left foot that required a medical timeout at the end of the second set. On the other hand, Federer looked fresh and seemed to be gliding along the baseline. Those in attendance feared the first retirement in a Wimbledon final since 1911. In the end, Cilic (742 matches), and for that matter Federer (1,416 matches), continued their streak of never retiring mid-match with injury.

Power neutralised

Cilic’s only win over Federer came in the US Open semifinal three years ago, where the 6’5” Croat could trust the true bounce of the hardcourt and pull the trigger off on either side. At the Centre Court, Cilic had to take that extra split-second to judge the bounce of the ball. Pain and overcast conditions made it tougher for him to get into rhythm.

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