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By Richard Pagliaro | Satuday, January 21, 2018

 
Marin Cilic

Marin Cilic topped Pablo Carreno Busta, 6-7 (2), 6-3, 7-6 (0), 7-6 (3), to post his 100th career major win and advance to the Australian Open quarterfinals.

Photo credit: @Australian Open

Fast forward thinking helped Marin Cilic master a milestone today.

Closing with conviction, Cilic won 34 of 42 trips to net conquering Pablo Carreno Busta, 6-7 (2), 6-3, 7-6 (0), 7-6 (3), to advance to the Australian Open quarterfinals for the second time.

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Amping up his aggression as the match progressed, Cilic cranked 73 winners, including 20 aces, compared to 39 winners for Carreno Busta.

It is Cilic’s 100th career Grand Slam victory and sends him into a quarterfinal clash with either world No. 1 Rafael Nadal or 24th-seeded Diego Schwartzman for a spot in the final four.

The 29-year-old Cilic reached his 11th career Grand Slam quarterfinal, equaling his former coach, Goran Ivanisevic, for most major quarterfinal appearances by a Croatian man.

Returning to the Melbourne last eight for the first time since his semifinal run eight years ago, Cilic joins Ivanisevic as the second Croatian man to reach multiple Australian Open quarterfinals.

Initially, the match presented lost opportunity for Cilic, who blew a 5-3 first-set lead.

Playing with control in baseline rallies, the 11th-ranked Spaniard rallied through the first-set tie break.

Cilic began striking with more depth and following his drives forward in taking the second set.




Carreno Busta broke to serve for the third set only to see the 2014 US Open champion break right back to force a third-set tie break.

An athletic stretch volley followed by a backhand winner down the line and a pair of crackling forehand winners gave Cilic a 5-0 lead in the third-set tie break. He whipped a forehand crosscourt to seize the third set.

When Cilic broke at the start of the fourth set, it appeared the 2017 US Open semifinalist might recede. To his credit, Carreno Busto broke back and stayed in step into the fourth-set tie break.

A poor drop shot from the Spaniard sat up, Cilic cruised forward and swatted a forehand down the line for the mini break and a 4-2 lead. Cilic angled off a forehand volley—his sixth straight point at net—for 5-2.

On his second match point, Cilic drilled a diagonal forehand winner wrapping up a three hour, 27-minute triumph.

 

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