Cilic Books Semi-Final Berth At MercedesCup

Marin Cilic (photo: MercedesCup/Daniel Kopatsch)


Marin Cilic headlined Friday’s quarterfinal action at the MercedesCup in Stuttgart by knocking out top seed Denis Shapovalov of Canada 7-5, 7-6(3). In his 100th career match on grass, the World No. 47 from Croatia struck eight aces and won 87 per cent of his first-service points to advance after one hour and 50 minutes.

“I felt I was applying a little more pressure during that first set and I capitalized on the couple of break points, which was definitely big, just to give me a bit of extra momentum,” Cilic said. “I also had the two match points at the end of the second set, didn’t convert them, but played a really good tie-break. You always have to expect tough battles against top guys like Denis [Shapovalov] and it was like that today.”

Cilic reached the stage of the final four at the Tennis Club Weissenhof back in 2015 when he lost to Viktor Troicki. This time, the 32-year-old will take on wild card entry Jurij Rodionov. The 22-year-old Austrian saved one match against No. 4 seed Alex de Minaur of Australia to secure a 3-6, 6-3, 7-6(4) victory in two hours and 13 minutes.

“I kept my cool down, it was an emotional game. I am happy to came out as the winner today,” said Rodionov, who will appear in his first semi-final on the ATP Tour.

Earlier in the day, Felix Auger-Aliassime fought past No. 6 seeded Frenchman Ugo Humbert 7-6(5), 7-6(8). The 21-year-old Canadian fired 17 aces won four points more than his opponent to prevail after two hours and three minutes.

Auger-Aliassime, runner-up to Matteo Berrettini in 2019, will play US-American Sam Querrey in the semi-finals, who stopped the impressive run of Swiss teenager Dominic Stephan Stricker, rallying 6-7(4), 7-6(4), 6-3. The Las Vegas resident saved one match point at 4-5 in the second set to finish the encounter after one hour and 55 minutes.