Marin Cilic, the only Croatian tennis player in the individual competition of the Olympic Games in Tokyo, reached the placement in the 2nd round with a big turnaround, defeating Brazilian Joao Menezes with 6/7, 7/5, 7/6 after three hours and 23 minutes of play.
In one of the most bizarre matches in recent memory, Marin Cilic comes back from 4-5* in the 2nd, then wastes a 5-0 lead + 8 MPs in the 3rd before having to save a MP himself and comeback to beat João Menezes 6-7(5), 7-5, 7-6(7) in #Tokyo2020. Needed a total 11 (!) MPs.
— José Morgado (@josemorgado) July 24, 2021
After losing the first set in which he missed three chances to ‘break’ at 5-5, and then took a 3-0 lead in the ‘tie-break’, only to lose six points in a row, Cilic lost in the seventh game of the second set service and at his fourth Olympics was on his way to the biggest disappointment when the 217th tennis player in the world Joao Menezes took a 5-3 lead.
“One hundred percent the craziest match ever. I had one match with Simon in 2014 in Australia, where there was also everything, but this one surpassed everything. These are the Olympics after all. I felt throughout the match that I had no rhythm, the conditions were difficult , and the surface and the balls very fast, and when I breathed in, opened at the end of the second set, I felt like I was playing phenomenally. And then I crashed a little bit, “said Marin.
When the Brazilian served for the placement in the 2nd round, Cilic reached the first break in the match and continued that series until the 5: 0 lead in the third set.
Won nine games in a row
The Croatian tennis player came one step closer to victory with a series of nine games won. What followed was one of the biggest plots of the Croatian tennis player. Cilic had 0:40 and another advantage on the service of Menezes for a clean 6: 0, but the Brazilian more than half an hour after serving for the victory finally managed to win the game on the opening kick, and then five in a row. Not even ten match-balls helped, on that tenth the Brazilian sent a backhand into the net. After three hours and 23 minutes, Marin scored a volley for one of the toughest victories of his career, which he had to come to twice from the brink of defeat.
“And when I thought it was over, I was lucky. Menezes is a good player, but he’s not the class of Gonzalez, Monfils or Hewitt I lost to at the Olympics. But I’m the type of player who likes to dominate, today wasn’t my day , and the boy felt it and created a lot of problems for me. “
|Marin Cilic||Joao Menezes|
|1st Serve Percentage||54%||63%|
|1st Serve Points Won||75%||64%|
|Break Points Saved||2/6||11/16|
|Break Points Converted||5/16||4/16|
Strong opponent in the second round
Cilic’s opponent in the 2nd round will be the Spaniard Pablo Carreno-Busta, who was better than the American Tennys Sandgren with 7: 5, 6: 2. Čilić has 4: 0 against the Spaniard in mutual matches.
“For an unknown reason, I play very, very well against him. And he is a great player, he makes a few mistakes, he doesn’t have a weapon, but he doesn’t have a hole. I have to play at a much better level. I want to finally win an Olympic medal,” Marin concluded.