ZAGREB, July 2 (Xinhua) -- Croatian player Marin Cilic did better than he did ever before against Novak Djokovic, lead two sets to one, but he didn't stop the No. 1 seed on his way to the fifth consecutive Wimbledon semifinals.
Eventually, it was Djokovic who was better in the beginning and in the end of the match that has lasted three hours and 18 minutes and that was enough to bring him a five set victory, 6-1, 3-6, 6-7, 6-2, 6-2 on Wednesday in All England Club.
"It was a tough five-setter. I knew coming into the match that Cilic will be aggressive. I didn't use early chances to break him in the second set and played a bad game to lose the serve. He got back into the match and then momentum shifted to his side. It was a pretty even match in the first few sets but I felt that I regained control in the fourth set, swinging through the ball and having more stability on my groundstrokes," Djokovic said in an interview with BBC coming straight from the Court No. 1.
With Rafael Nadal losing the day before to young Australian Nick Kyrgios and defending champion Andy Murray bowing out in straight sets to Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov, it seemed that "The Big Four" of men's tennis are in big trouble when 25-year-old Cilic got the lead after three sets.
"He raised his game but I also allowed him to do that. He stepped in as I became too passive on my strokes. He used his opportunities and I was frustrated because I allowed him to get back into the match," Djokovic admitted.
His frustration grow even bigger when he couldn't find his balance, constantly sliding on a slippery Wimbledon grass. Then, at the beginning of the fourth set, Djokovic grabbed a new pair of shoes and momentum changed.
"Maybe it was shoes, I don't know, but since I've changed them, from the middle of the fourth and in the fifth set, it felt good. I'll keep them in the next match and see if it works," Djokovic said with the big smile on his face.
What is left for Marin Cilic, who was aiming to become only the third Croatian player in the Open era after Goran Ivanisevic and Mario Ancic to reach the semifinals at Wimbledon, is to analyze why his game vanished in the last two sets and especially in the fourth when he seemed to have a psychological advantage.
In the deciding set his return didn't work at all as he won only one point against Djokovic's serve and his serve was broken four times in the last two sets. If he is to beat Djokovic some day that is a luxury he can't afford.
Wednesday in Wimbledon seemed like a perfect day for Cilic to get his premier win against the best Serb but it was Djokovic who celebrated his 10th victory over Croatian that sent him to the semifinals match against Grigor Dimitrov.