London | Cilic fights off Isner
MARIN Cilic maintained his chances of reaching the semi-finals of the Nitto ATP Finals for the first time with a 6-7 6-3 6-4 victory over American John Isner. at the 02.
There was a little bit of luck involved. I really enjoyed the atmosphere tonight. It is so much fun and I enjoy playing here. I am looking forward to the next match in the group Marin Cilic
The fact that the Croat won in three sets ensured Novak Djokovic, who had secured a straight-sets win over Alexander ‘Sascha’ Zverev a few hours earlier, became the first player to reach the last-four.
And Cilic takes on Djokovic in a three-way tussle with Isner and Zverev for their group’s remaining place.
It was Clic’s second win in 11 matches in four appearances at the year-end event.
Eighth-seed Isner, at 6ft.10in the tallest player in the tournament’s history, took the first set with a superb tiebreak, and a series of big aces.
But Cilic, seeded six, roared back to gain revenge against Isner, who defeated him in their only other indoor meeting at the Paris Masters two years ago.
It was the first match to go to three sets at the finals this year.
Cilic said: “It was very difficult. The first set was extremely tough. John [Isner] played a great tie-break and I had to stay focused.
“I served really well and I am really pleased with the win. I felt that I had that momentum towards the end of the second set. I felt the ball well and got some good points on Isner’s serves.
“He hit a few double-faults on the break points – that helped – but I stayed patient and I managed to break back and play some good tennis towards the end.
“There was a little bit of luck involved. I really enjoyed the atmosphere tonight. It is so much fun and I enjoy playing here. I am looking forward to the next match in the group.”
On meeting Djokovic, he added to Sky Sports: “It was a tough match in Paris. He is playing really good tennis but I have to keep playing well, serve well and hopefully I can have another great match.”