Canada Flashback: Rafael Nadal overcomes slow start to beat Marin Cilic



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Canada Flashback: Rafael Nadal overcomes slow start to beat Marin Cilic

World no. 1 Rafael Nadal advanced into the semi-final in Toronto for the first time since 2010 three years ago. Nadal ousted the 6th seed Marin Cilic 2-6, 6-4, 6-4 in two hours and 19 minutes and scored the 38th victory from 41 matches in 2018.

It was Nadal's 360th Masters 1000 victory, and he earned it after fending off 11 out of 14 break chances. After a shaky performance in the opener, the Spaniard raised his level and crossed the finish line first despite taking three points fewer than Marin.

The Croat fought well until the third set's tenth game when he got broken to suffer a loss and propel Rafa into the semis. Nadal hit 16 winners and 23 unforced errors, while Cilic stood on a 38-43 ratio, attacking and making more errors as the match progressed, unable to continue where he left in the opening set.

Marin was off to a better start, forcing Rafa's mistake in game three to score a break and cementing the advantage with another one in game five after a forehand return winner. Rafa served at 1-5 and fended off five set points, including a volley winner on the last one.

Still, Marin fired a forehand down the line winner in the next game for 6-2 after 41 minutes.

Rafael Nadal beat Marin Cilic in three sets in Toronto 2018.

The Spaniard saved a break chance in the second set's opening game with a service winner and broke at love at 2-1 after Marin's forehand error to move in front for the first time since the match's opening game.

Serving at 3-1, Rafa repelled four break points with service winners to strengthen his lead and served for the set at 5-3. He got broken at 15 after Cilic's return winner, but the Croat could not use this momentum, wasting two game points in the next game to suffer the crucial break after a forehand error.

Nadal lost just six points on serve in the final set to keep the pressure on Marin and clinched that pivotal break in the tenth game following Cilic's backhand mistake to seal the deal and march towards his 67th Masters 1000 semi-final, the sixth in Canada.