Croatian tennis star Marin Cilic used the word "unbelievable" to describe his Australian Open third round match against world No. 28 Fernando Verdasco. Cilic, seeded at No. 7, came back from two sets down to edge out 35-year-old Verdasco 4-6 3-6 6-1 7-6 (8) 6-3.
Cilic broke Verdasco in the opening game of the match but the Spaniard broke the Croatian in the second and 10th game to clinch the opener. Verdasco made the most out of the break earned in the sixth game of the second as he held on to his serve to take a 2-0 set lead.
Cilic then broke the Spaniard twice in the third set to reduce the deficit to 2-1. Cilic saved Verdasco's first match point with a big serve to level the fourth set tie-break at 7-7 before Verdasco double-faulted on his second match point in the 16th point.
The 2018 Australian Open runner-up then converted his second set point to force a decider. Cilic broke Verdasco in the second game of the fifth set and then held on to his serve to seal the win after four hours and 18 minutes.
"Thanks for sticking around, it was definitely a tough match, unbelievable," Cilic said during his on-court interview, per Reuters. "It was a big hill to climb... 'I'm just putting myself in a hole and let’s see what I'm going to do.
"It was definitely a tough tiebreak. It came down to one shot, or basically one decision. I was a little bit lucky on that net cord. "Today I was just slightly luckier in those crucial moments."
Cilic plays next No. 22 seed Roberto Bautista Agut. Also read: Dominic Thiem reveals what went wrong for him against Alexei Popyrin