Cilic wins second longest match ever at Wimbledon
Marin Cilic beat Sam Querrey in an epic encounter that lasted five hours and 31 minutes, breaking the record for the second-longest match in Wimbledon history.sports Updated: Jul 01, 2012 12:45 IST
Marin Cilic beat Sam Querrey in an epic encounter on Saturday that lasted five hours and 31 minutes, breaking the record for the second-longest match in Wimbledon history.
Croatian 16th seed Cilic beat Querrey of the United States 7-6 (8/6), 6-4, 6-7 (7/2), 6-7 (7/3), 17-15 in the marathon third round clash.
The pair were duelling in the dusk on the 4,000-seater Court 2 show court when Cilic finally sealed victory at 9:02pm.
The final set alone lasted two hours and seven minutes.
"A complete drama, I would say -- and especially that fifth set," Cilic said.
"But I'm really happy with the way I stayed in the match and it wasn't easy to be focused all the time."
The match surpassed the mark of five hours, 28 minutes set in 1989 when Greg Holmes beat Todd Witsken 5-7, 6-4, 7-6 (7/5), 4-6, 14-12.
The all-time record at Wimbledon -- or anywhere else -- by a huge distance remains the staggering 2010 encounter at the All England Club between John Isner and Nicolas Mahut.
Isner won 6-4, 3-6, 6-7 (9/7), 7-6 (7/3), 70-68 in in 11 hours and five minutes in a match that took three days to complete.
Cilic got himself to match point by finishing off a 29-stroke rally and won it when Querrey fired a return of serve long. The pair hugged at the net and Cilic raised his fist in celebration.
Speaking about closing the match, he added: "We had a long rally there on 30-all and I went for the shot so it was really crucial that I stayed in there with a good focus and definitely with a good conviction to go for it."
The 23-year-old said he tried not to worry about the fading light and the possibility of the match being suspended until Monday.
"I tried to put that way from my mind because I just wanted to focus on my game and I didn't want to let anything intefere with that," he said.
"The difficult thing is that you are always thinking that you are close, that you are going to break and eventually, the game keeps going and the set is getting longer and still you have to be really focused.
"Definitely of course, big time I'm glad that I came through."
Speaking of his tiredness, he said the clash was "a lot of serving and one or two shots. It's more the walking in the match for that long".
Querrey joked that their encounter would only be a footnote in Wimbledon history due to the epic of 2010.
"Just another match now, thanks to Isner-Mahut. They set the bar pretty high," he said.
"It's going to be tough. Even if it's 30-28, you're a long way away.
"I'm a little tired, but it was a fun match," he added.
"I'm bummed. I'm sad. But I'm sure I'll be over it and really look back and say that was a great match and it's a good stepping stone."
It was the second time in a month that Cilic has been involved in a dramatic end to a match.
He won the Queen's warm-up tournament on June 17 when fellow finalist David Nalbandian of Argentina was sensationally disqualified for angrily kicking an advertising board, wounding a line judge in the process, leaving him bleeding from the shin.
Cilic faces British fourth seed Andy Murray on Monday for a spot in the quarter-finals.
"Another difficult match, definitely," he said.
"I hope I'm going to be fresh and ready to go."
First Published: Jul 01, 2012 12:44 IST