Cilic wins in match that ends past 2 a.m.
NEW YORK — Marin Cilic, the 2014 U.S. Open champion, needed eight match points to recover from a two-set deficit and eventually edge 19-year-old Alex de Minaur 4-6, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4, 7-5 at 2:22 a.m. on Sunday, four minutes shy of the latest finish in the tournament’s history.
“This is a moment to remember, absolutely,” Cilic said.
The U.S. Open’s late-finish record of 2:26 a.m. was set by Mats Wilander’s victory over Mikael Pernfors in 1993, then equaled when Philipp Kohlschreiber beat John Isner in 2012, and again when Kei Nishikori got past Milos Raonic in 2014.
The No. 7 seed Cilic and 45th-ranked de Minaur didn’t even start their third-round match at Louis Armstrong Stadium until after 10 p.m., because of day-session matches that ran long Saturday.
Less than 1 1/2 hours in, Cilic double-faulted to get broken for the fifth time in 10 service games and fall into that big hole. This was the sixth time in his career that the 29-year-old Croat won a match after dropping the opening two sets.
De Minaur was playing brilliantly, showing how speed can overcome power by racing this way and that along the baseline, showing off terrific instincts and reflexes.
But Cilic worked his way back into the match, serving better as it wore on and using the experience that has carried him to runner-up finishes at Wimbledon in 2017 and the Australian Open this January, in addition to his Grand Slam title at Flushing Meadows.
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