Australian Open 2019: Marin Cilic through to fourth round after comeback win over Fernando Verdasco in five-set thriller

Last year's finalist Marin Cilic survived a huge scare in the Australian Open third round, surviving two match points before beating Fernando Verdasco.

Agence France-Presse January 18, 2019 20:16:24 IST
Australian Open 2019: Marin Cilic through to fourth round after comeback win over Fernando Verdasco in five-set thriller
  • Last year's finalist Marin Cilic survived a huge scare in the Australian Open third round, surviving two match points before beating Fernando Verdasco.

  • The big-serving Marin Cilic was in danger of departing when he lost the first two sets against the 35-year-old Spaniard.

  • Cilic lost a five-set thriller in last year's final to Roger Federer and will face another Spaniard, 22nd seed Roberto Bautista Agut in the last 16.

Melbourne: Last year's finalist Marin Cilic survived a huge scare in the Australian Open third round on Friday, surviving two match points before beating Fernando Verdasco 4-6, 3-6, 6-1, 7-6 (8), 6-3.

The big-serving Croatian sixth seed was in danger of departing when he lost the first two sets against the 35-year-old Spaniard.

Australian Open 2019 Marin Cilic through to fourth round after comeback win over Fernando Verdasco in fiveset thriller

Marin Cilic celebrates after beating Fernando Verdasco in the third round of the Australian Open. AP/Mark Schiefelbein

He ripped back 6-1 in the third and saved a first match point on his own serve during an edge-of-the-seat fourth set tiebreaker as the clock struck midnight.

Verdasco earned a second match point on his own delivery and then double-faulted to leave him tearing his hair out.

Cilic took it to a fifth and the still shellshocked 26th seed Verdasco dropped his serve straight away.

Cilic dug deep one last time at 4-2, 0-40, saving three break points and eventually secured the marathon come-from-behind victory in 4hr 18min just before 1:00 am.

"It was a tough match. The emotions were up and down," said Cilic, who is into the fourth round at Melbourne for the sixth time.

"At two sets down it was a big hill to climb."

Cilic lost a five-set thriller in last year's final to Roger Federer and will face another Spaniard, 22nd seed Roberto Bautista Agut in the last 16.

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