Marin Cilic says winning Wimbledon would be a dream come true after he booked a final showdown with Roger Federer.
Cilic powered past Andy Murray’s conqueror Sam Querrey 6-7 (6/8) 6-4 7-6 (7/3) 7-5 and will now face Federer tomorrow in his first Wimbledon final.
It is three years since Cilic broke the stranglehold of the game’s ‘big four’ to win the US Open and the Croatian believes he is ready for a second major triumph.
“It would mean absolutely the world to me,” said Cilic.
“I feel that when I won the US Open in 2014, it just opened so many possibilities in my mind for the rest of my career.
“To be able to do it again would definitely mean, I would say, even more, because I know how much it meant for me to win that first one.
“It would be absolutely a dream come true to win Wimbledon here.”
Cilic came within a whisker of beating Federer in the quarter-finals last year, but spurned three match points before losing in five sets to the Swiss. Federer, however, gunning for his 19th major crown, will be the overwhelming favourite this weekend.
The 35-year-old brushed aside Tomas Berdych in the day’s other semi-final and he is still yet to drop a set this tournament.
“Over here in Wimbledon, I believe this is his home court,” Cilic said.
To be able to do it again would definitely mean, I would say, even more, because I know how much it meant for me to win that first one.Marin Cilic
“It’s the place where he feels the best and knows that he can play the best game.
“Obviously I’m going to look back as well – 12 months ago I was one point away from winning a match over here against him.
“Definitely I believe that if I’m going to be playing him, in my own abilities to get through and to win it.
“But I still know that it’s a big mountain to climb.
“Roger is playing maybe one of his best tennis of his career at the moment, having a great season. So I know it’s going to be a huge challenge. But I believe that I am ready.”
Cilic’s victory was far from straight-forward as Querrey snatched the first set and very nearly took it to a fifth only for his opponent to break at the crucial moment.
He is the first Croatian to reach the final at Wimbledon since Goran Ivanisevic in 2001 and no man has endured a longer wait, this his 11th appearance at the All England Club.
“I would say my mental toughness was on an extremely high level, considering that both of us played amazing tennis in the first set,” said Cilic.
“I managed to turn it around. I would say I played throughout the match really a high level.”
Querrey was playing his own first grand slam semi-final at the 42nd attempt, but the American looked far from out of place.
“Marin is just really good, he’s tough on both sides,” said Querrey.
“I kind of felt like he pushed me around a little bit today. I had that break in the fourth, but when he broke me back, he just played a great game. That kind of deflated me a little bit. He just does everything really well.”