Roger Federer was already qualified for the Semi-Finals before the Marin Cilic clash. The Croat was eliminated, but there were other important things to play for. So Cilic came motivated.
Even though Marin held no chance to advance to Semi-Finals, there were still important ATP points in stake, a good money prize and, above all, his head to head record with his Wimbledon conqueror from this year.
Marin Cilic started the match confidently. He was serving big and showcasing his powerful forehand. Federer admitted that he probably didn’t deserve to go into a first set tie-break, as he struggled to make points on Cilic’s serve. The Swiss Maestro had difficulties in reading the Croat’s serve and grew frustrated because he had to defend way too much. He was forced to play as Cilic was dictating.
The GOAT had to regroup in the second set. In an interview after the match, he said that he preferred to smash his returns as hard as possible, regardless if they’re going to go in or not. If he was to lose, he would do it on his terms, not by giving free points to his opponent.
Even though he had to defend some break points in the second set, he managed to break Cilic when was serving at 4-5, the Croat’s serve betraying him. The second set was a tight affair, but let Federer understand more about how the ball bounces from this court and how he needs to approach it.
In the decider, Roger crushed Cilic, breaking his serve since the first service game. Then he doubled the advantage when he broke him again. Federer was taking the ball fast, not leaving time for Cilic to react. He was coming to the net and way to often Marin was caught unbalanced and arriving late to points.
Federer overpowered Cilic in the decider, to claim the third victory in Boris Becker’s group, 6-7 (5), 6-4, 6-1.
He will meet in the Semi-Finals the winner between David Goffin and Dominic Thiem.