Marin Cilic is roaming through The Championships draw with a menacing, confident intent. Through to the Wimbledon quarter-finals for the fourth straight year, the Croatian has yet to drop a set in four completed matches.
The seventh-seeded Croatian dominated Spanish No. 18 seed Roberto Bautista Agut 6-2, 6-2, 6-2 on Monday, breaking serve seven times. Cilic was almost perfect on serve in the third set, but lost three straight points at 5-2, 40/0 as he closed on his 25th match win at the All England Club.
“My confidence is quite high, considering I’ve been playing really well over the past few weeks,” said Cilic. “I’m really satisfied everything is working extremely well. My level is quite solid It’s probably not the best possible but definitely really, really solid, and I’m returning well and serving well. I’m moving on the court really well too.
Cilic capitalised on the second serve of Bautista Agut (winning 12 of 15 return points) and 15 of 18 points at the net for victory in one hour and 41 minutes. He will now hope to go one round better than in 2014-15 (l. to Djokovic both times) and last year against Federer, when he held a two sets to love lead and failed to convert three match point chances in the fourth set.
Cilic has lost his serve on five occasions over the past eight days – twice against Florian Mayer in the second round, twice against Steve Johnson in the third round and once against Bautista Agut, when he was leading 4-1 in the second set.
Under coach Jonas Bjorkman, a fine competitor as a singles or doubles player on grass courts, Cilic admitted he has “improved how he prepares for matches and following up on his big serve.”
The 28 year old Cilic has a 10-2 record on grass courts in recent weeks (27-13 overall for 2017), including a runner-up finish at the Aegon Championships, where he failed to convert a match point chance against Feliciano Lopez in the final.
Cilic will next challenge No. 16 seed Gilles Muller on Wednesday. Muller beat fourth seed and two-time former titlist Rafael Nadal 6-3, 6-4, 3-6, 4-6, 15-13 in four hours and 48 minutes on Centre Court late evening. Read Match Report