Marin Cilic: “I don't know if that comes with playing several years on grass, but year after year I was feeling better” - UBITENNIS
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Marin Cilic: “I don't know if that comes with playing several years on grass, but year after year I was feeling better”

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TENNIS WIMBLEDON 2014 – 30th of June. M. Cilic d. J. Chardy 7-6, 6-4, 6-4. An interview with Marin Cilic

 

Q. Obviously you had a pretty good match on your serve; 33 aces in three sets. It is the most satisfying thing of the match for you?

MARIN CILIC: I would say so. I mean, I would say first part of the match before the rain break was extremely high-quality tennis from both of us, especially from Jeremy, who was serving very, very good.

I didn’t have any opportunities on his serve. That was a really, I mean, causing a lot of trouble on the return games. When I came into that tiebreak was not easy to prepare. I didn’t know what to expect. Especially with his big shots he was not giving my too much rhythm.

I think when we came back he was not serving as big as in the first part. That allowed me to get more in his service games.

Overall, I would say I was serving really well and putting more pressure on him with that. He didn’t have too much freedom to make any mistakes on his serve. I think that made a huge difference in the end.

 

Q. Last year you had to pull out; you’re the first one through now to the quarterfinals. Quite a turnaround. How do you feel compared to last year mentally and physically?

MARIN CILIC: Last year I felt that I was in a pretty good form as well. This year I just felt that I’m one step further with my form. I don’t know if that comes with playing several years on grass, but year after year I was feeling better and better.

But, you know, sometimes it’s difficult to prepare your form exactly for these two weeks. Over here I think we had really good preparation week before Wimbledon, and it’s paying off in the matches, obviously.

 

Q. Chardy said that the most difficult thing with your serve is to read it because you vary it a lot. Would you say that is the biggest improvement with Goran?

MARIN CILIC: Yes. Overall, the serve became bigger weapon, and I can rely on it during the matches. Over here I feel I’m keeping it on a good level. Even percentage is high and I’m hitting a lot of aces.

I even felt in some points that Jeremy was guessing where the serve was going to go and he was, I mean, obviously making some mistakes.

That gave my a little bit more confident that the serve is in a good position and I have to just keep going.

 

Q. You served your suspension shortly after Wimbledon last year. Have you learned your lesson from how that came about, and what was that time like for you?

MARIN CILIC: For me, most important part was that I found some mental toughness out of all of that. When I came back, it sort of gave me more motivation to work and use every opportunity I have to be prepared for every tournament.

Obviously I use that time as well for physical preparation. I was doing a lot. I had some time off. I didn’t practice, let’s say two, three weeks maximum, four months.

Overall, I use it very, very good in a physical part and I am feeling very well. I think my game is on a high level. Plus, it’s becoming much more consistent performances day after day.

 

Q. Goran was such a big character. He played here and when he won here, and when he did, he was talking about the different sides of his personality that he would bring out at different times. Does any of that rub off on you, his sort of larger-than-life approach?

MARIN CILIC: I mean, main part that is coming from Goran to me and what I feel in this relationship is big confidence from my own side towards Goran.

All the things we are working on, they’re working for me on the court. That’s huge confidence for me when I come step on the court, that I’m seeing on own my season that things are working well, and I feel like that. It’s improving a lot.

Having him obviously over here beside me is definitely another plus, big plus to have him in my box. He’s been many times in the second week of Wimbledon, so of course I’m leaving up to him all the small details to give me some advices. It’s working very well.

ATP

Svetlana Kuznetsova upsets Ashleigh Barty in Cincinnati to reach the 42nd final of her career

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Russian wild card Svetlana Kuznetsova edged top seed this year’s Roland Garros champion Ashleigh Barty 6-2 6-4 in the semifinal of the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati to reach the 42nd final of her career.

 

Two-time Grand Slam champion Kuznetsova, who is now ranked world number 153, scored her third win against top 10 players this week  after beating former US Open champion Sloane Stephens and Karolina Pliskova.

Barty missed her chance to regain world number 1 spot from Naomi Osaka, who was forced to retire from her quarter final.

Barty earned the first break of the match in the second game of the opening set, when Kuznetsova netted a backhand. Kuznetsova broke back in the third game with a smash winner and earned another break at 2-2 when Barty netted a backhand. Kuznetsova hit a return winner to build up a 5-2 lead. Barty asked a medical time-out to treat he right leg. Kuznetsova held serve at 15 to close out the opening set after 30 minutes.

Kuznetsova went up a break in the first game of the second set. Barty won just three points on return in the second set. Kuznetsova closed out the second set with three winners in the 10th game.

“I am really happy. I am not really an analyzing person, but on my intuition, I am doing so much better, not repeating so many of my mistakes, just playing smarter and wiser now. It’s been so many different things when I was off, so I just enjoyed time off. Honestly, I was not missing at all the travelling and all the stress when you play tournaments, but now I have missed it and I feel good. I feel joy staying here and being here. It definitely helped me to have some time off to see other things outside tennis”, said Kuznetsova.

 

Kuznetsova set up a final against Madison Keys, who beat Sofia Kenin in straight sets. The Russian 34-year-old veteran player has qualified for her first final since last year, when she beat Donna Vekic in Washington.

 

“Madison is extremely tough. When she is on fire, it is really hard to play against her. It’s going to be a difficult match-up”, said Kuznetsova.  

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David Goffin reaches his first Masters 1000 in Cincinnati

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David Goffin beat Richard Gasquet 6-3 6-4 on an overcast afternoon to reach the first Masters 1000 final of his career and his 13th title match at ATP Tour level at the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati. Goffin has dropped just one set en route to the final.

 

Goffin is returning to his best form this summer under the guidance of former Swedish player Thomas Johansson. He reached the final in Halle and his first quarter final at Wimbledon. He received a walkover after Yoshihito Nishioka was forced to withdraw from the match due to food poisoning.

The Belgian player started the match with two consecutive holds before breaking at love to open up a 4-1 lead with a backhand winner down the line.

Goffin held his next service games to seal the opening set 6-3. Gasquet earned an early break to open  2-0 lead, but Goffin won five of the next six games with two breaks. The 2017 Nitto ATP Finals runner-up served out the win at love in the 10th game after 1 hour and 16 minutes, as Gasquet sent his backhand long.

Goffin reached the semifinal in Cincinnati last year, but he was forced to retire due to an arm injury.

“I am very happy. It’s a tournament I like and I have played the best tennis in the past few years. I am really happy to reach my first Masters 1000 final here. It’s a great moment for me.”

 

 

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Richard Gasquet reaches his first Masters 1000 semifinal since Miami 2013

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Frenchman Richard Gasquet edged past this year’s Wimbledon semifinalist Roberto Bautista Agut 7-6 (7-2) 3-6 6-2 after 2 hours and 12 minutes to reach his first Masters 1000 semifinal since the 2013 Miami Open.

 

 Gasquet missed six months of action after undergoing groin surgery last January.

The French player set up a semfinal against David Goffin, who reached the semifinal after his Japanese opponent Yoshihito Nishioka withdrew from the match due to illness.

The first set went on serve with no break points en route to the tie-break. Bautista Agut hit a backhand wide at 1-2. Gasquet sealed the tie-break when Bautista Agut hit a forehand long.

Bautista Agut earned two breaks of serve in the second set and sealed it, when Gasquet made his third double fault on set point.

Gasquet broke serve with a volley in the third game of the decisive set. The French player went up a double break to race out to 4-1 lead. He saved two break points to hold his serve at deuce before serving out the third set on his first match point.

“I know how tough it was to come back. I know the moments I had at the start of the year, so I just wanted to enjoy, to fight. It is not easy to come back after six months out, but I am here. I am in semis tomorrow”,said Gasquet.

 

 

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