Cilic marches into title round

Croatian eases past Tipsarevic to set up a clash with Wawrinka

Cilic marches into title round

But the Serbian needed more than just the crowd support to overcome his nemesis from the neighbouring Croatia.

Cilic’s start hardly gave the indication of things to follow. He committed two unforced errors and served an equal number of double faults before a net chord off a backhand return handed Tipsarevic the break in the very first game of the match. But it was the only time in the set, or for that matter the match, that Cilic appeared vulnerable. After the first-game blip, the second seed came into his own to cut short Tipsarevic’s run at the semifinals with a resounding 6-1, 6-3 win and storm into the final of the $400,000 Chennai Open for the second year in succession on Saturday.  

Cilic will defend his title against third seed from Switzerland Stanislas Wawrinka who survived a scare by the little man from Israel Dudi Sela in a three-set thriller. After losing the first set 4-6, the fifth seed rallied to win the second 6-2 before losing a hard-fought final set 5-7 after close to a two-hour encounter. 

Cilic has struggled in the tournament to make the grade after an easy outing in the first round. He swept past Russian Igor Kunistyn in the opening match, but he was stretched to three sets by Spain’s Marcel Granollers, who took the first set, in the second. Columbian journeyman Santiago Giraldo was leading 4-1 in the first set of the quarterfinal tie when Cilic woke up from his slumber to beat him. The semifinal looked all set to follow the similar pattern, but the 6’6’’ player got his game together in double quick time to vanquish Tipsarevic, who had lost to the same opponent here last year in the quarters.

“This was definitely the best match of the tournament I have played so far,” Cilic gushed after the match. “It feels great to win in straight sets,” he added.       
The striking feature of Cilic’s game on the day was his control over the proceedings. He dictated the course of the game, slowing the pace and mounting the attack as and when he wished to do.  After losing the first game, Cilic broke back Tipsarevic in the second at love to level the score. Leading 30-40 on the Tipsarevic serve, Cilic drew his rival close to the net and closed out the game with an overhead smash to run up a 3-1 lead. Serving to stay in the set at 1-5, Tipsarevic wasted two game points after which Cilic came up with a brilliant cross-court forehand return to wrap up the set in 37 minutes.     
Tipsarevic managed hold Cilic for a longer duration in the second, but he was only delaying the inevitable. The second seed broke the Serbian in the first and the ninth to seal the match.

DH News Service

Results: Singles, semifinals: 2-Marin Cilic (Cro) bt 4-Janko Tipsarevic (Ser) 6-1, 6-3; 3-Stanislas Wawrinka (Sui) bt 5-Dudi Sela (Isr) 6-4, 2-6, 7-5.
Doubles, quarterfinals played on Friday: Colin Fleming / Ken Skupski (Bri) bt 3-Mahesh Bhupathi / Rohan Bopanna (Ind) 4-6, 6-3 10-2; Yen-Hsun Lu (Tai)/ Janko Tipsarevic (Ser) bt Yves Allegro / Stanislas Wawrinka (Sui) 6-2, 6-2.

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