Hello, and welcome to Sports Mole
's live coverage of the Wimbledon
quarter-final between Novak Djokovic
and Marin Cilic
With Andy Murray having secured his place in the last four by beating Vasek Pospisil, it's now time for world number Novak Djokovic, who is looking to defend his crown at SW19. He hasn't got it easy though - he is facing US Open champion and former Wimbledon quarter-finalist Marin Cilic.
After falling two sets behind against Kevin Anderson
, Djokovic would have feared for his Wimbledon future but he showed terrific resolve to haul himself back to two sets all before completing the job yesterday afternoon. The Serbian will be aware that he will require an improved start against a player who possesses the ability to fly through his service games, but in general, he'll be happy with his performances so far.
That said, Cilic has had to come through a couple of long matches of his own against Ricardas Berankis and John Isner. The fact that he toughed out both matches after dropping the fourth will give him confidence, as will overcoming in-form American Denis Kudla in the last 16. The Flushing Meadows winner is defending a lot of points during the the US hard swing so an upset victory here would go some way to easing the pressure the other side of the pond.
It's worth noting that this contest will take place without the roof in place. It looks as though the weather at SW19 will be fine for the remainder of the day so hopefully we won't see any delays.
The two players are now having their practice hit before their quarter-final clash gets underway. It is good to see the sun back out at Wimbledon after that Murray match was slightly delayed by the weather. As mentioned, the forecast looks good from now on, so we should have a full night of tennis on Centre Court.
The winner of this match will face either Stanislas Wawrinka or Richard Gasquet in the semi-finals, with that one currently taking place on Court No. 1. It is Gasquet who has made the brighter start there, taking the first set 6-4. You can follow live coverage of that match here
Cilic will be full of confidence going into this match given his form over the last year or so, but his record against Djokovic is dismal. He has lost all 12 of his previous meetings against the current world number one, although only one of those defeats has come on grass.
Here we go then, Cilic to serve first...
Not a great start from Djokovic as he sends Cilic's second serve well wide, but the Croat returns the favour on the next point to make it 15-15. Cilic then responds to two first-serve faults in a row with a big ace, before moving 40-15 ahead with a simple forehand. Djokovic is unable to return Cilic's next serve as the big-hitting Croatian takes the first game comfortably.
Djokovic quickly wins the first point, but a fine return from Cilic on the second sees him pull it back to 15-15. His next attempt at a return is not as successful as he completely mis-hits the ball, before the longest rally of the match so far ends when Cilic races to the net but plants a backhand into it. Djokovic then sends a second serve right onto the line, and again Cilic is only able to find the net to level things up at one game apiece.
BREAK! Cilic is struggling to get the ball over that net at the moment. He claims the first point and keeps it short in the process, but then hits the tape and sees his next shot fail to make it over. Cilic and Djokovic both then hit shots long to level things up at 30-30, before the former misses a backhand with most of the court to aim at, handing Djokovic the first break point of the match. The second serve takes a horrible bounce off the line, but Djokovic somehow returns it before attacking the net and finishing off the game.
Cilic gets one all wrong to hand Djokovic the first point of the game, and then hits another long to find himself 0-30 down in double-quick time. There is no time for an unforced error on the next point as Djokovic hits an unreturnable forehand, before an ace seals the love game. The world number one is in charge right now.
Another break here could effectively hand Djokovic the opening set, and Cilic makes an inauspicious start by finding the net. Djokovic does the same himself to make it 15-15, but Cilic then sends a powerful forehand just long. He responds with an ace, and backs that up with another big serve that Djokovic can only send beyond the baseline. The Serb then tries to come in to the net, but Cilic sends the ball past him to hold his serve. That was a huge game for him to win, even this early in the contest.
Djokovic makes short work of the first point, but some good defensive work from Cilic allows him to counteract Djokovic's attacking play and send a passing backhand in for a winner. A couple of quick points then put the Serb on the brink of holding, and Cilic gives him a helping hand by sending the next long.
Djokovic is showing no signs of fatigue from that five-set epic against Kevin Anderson
, nor any of the cobwebs that blighted his first two sets in that match. He takes the first two points, which includes a failed challenge from Cilic, but the Croat does well to haul himself back to 30-30 with a delicate drop shot. He then has the world number one racing back and forth before finishing the point off with another drop shot, and Djokovic sends the next one into the net as Cilic holds.
Good start to the game from Cilic as he copes with an attempted drop shot before firing a powerful forehand that Djokovic can only send into the net. Cilic himself finds the net on the next three points, however, and Djokovic finishes it off with a stylish forehand down the line. Cilic is now serving to stay in the set.
Cilic slams an ace down to start things off, before coping with one coming off the tape to win the next. Djokovic, as ever, got to the ball, but his attempted lob was long. A classic serve and volley brings 40-0 up, and Cilic completes the love game when Djokovic can't return his next serve.
SET! Djokovic takes the first set in little over half an hour, but this game doesn't start well as the Serb hits a double fault. His next two serves are better as he gains control of the game, with Cilic sending consecutive shots into the net, before a lovely backhand down the line hands him two set points. He wastes both with uncharacteristic mis-hits that go well long, but Cilic then makes a mistake of his own by sending a backhand beyond the baseline. It is not third time lucky for the Serb, however, as a superb point ends with a great Cilic cross-court shot, only for the Croat to send his next one into the net. Djokovic finally takes the opener at the fourth time of asking as Cilic again finds the net.
A solid start to the quarter-finals for Djokovic, then. He hasn't quite been at his imperious best, but that early break was all that he needed to clinch the opener. Cilic, meanwhile, can feel encouraged himself after his performance in that set, despite never really threatening Djokovic on his serve.
Cilic really is mixing things up here, keeping Djokovic guessing with a variety of tactics. He comes to the net again this time to finish the opening point with a drop shot, but Djokovic usually has an answer and returns the next serve brilliantly before firing a cross-court forehand winner. Cilic wins the next two points, but then mis-hits a backhand well wide to give Djokovic a glimmer of hope at 40-30. A long shot brings up deuce, but Djokovic then sends one of his own long before an ace right on the line clinches the opening game of the second set. Big hold.
It is just so hard to beat Djokovic. Cilic hammers a forehand that would be a winner against most players, but Djokovic gets it back and Cilic under-hits his drop shot into the net. Another fine point from Djokovic makes it 30-30, but then Cilic produces arguably the shot of the match so far with a backhand passing effort down the line. Djokovic wrestles back control, though, and finishes it off with an ace.
Cilic channels the spirit of Henman with a classic serve-and-volley to get the first point of the game, while he attacks the net again two points later to make it 30-15 having sent an earlier backhand wide. He attempts another serve-and-volley next, but this time Djokovic is able to find the passing shot. Cilic produces one of his own down the line, however, and Djokovic then sends one long to hand the Croat the game.
Cilic is spending more and more time at the net now, but being so aggressive something doesn't work against a player of Djokovic's quality. He hits a perfect passing shot first up before firing a lovely forehand down the line, making what should have been a tricky shot look easy. He then wraps up the game nice and quickly to make it 2-2 in the second.
This time it is Djokovic who tries the aggressive approach, hammering a few shots onto the baseline before coming into the net. However, his attempted winner drifts just out, while on the next point Cilic produces a fine passing shot to take control of the game. Djokovic sends one long and has some angry words with himself, but they don't work as he can only send his subsequent return into the net.
There has still been just one break point in this entire match so far, which Djokovic took in the opener. There are no signs of that changing here as the Serb races to 40-0 before seeing Cilic send one wide to seal the game. Both players are really struggling to make inroads on their opponents' serve here.
Cilic begins with another serve and volley that Djokovic somehow gets to but can't return. He comes in again on the next point, but this time it is a mistake and he can't pick it up from around his feet. A couple of 130mph aces follow, before Djokovic sends one into the net to wrap up the game.
Cilic moves well for a big man, but he can't get close to a beautifully-executed drop shot from Djokovic at the start of this game. The Serb quickly races into a 40-0 lead before giving two points up with consecutive shots into the net, but Cilic is unable to return the next serve as Djokovic restores parity in the second set.
BREAK! Has there ever been a better returner of serve than Djokovic? Cilic booms a 120mph+ serve that sends chalk flying into the air, but somehow Djokovic gets it back. He eventually wins the point with a piece of luck as the ball bounces off the tape and sneaks just in. Cilic then misses a shot he'd expect to make to bring up three break points, the first of which Cilic saves with an ace. However, a fine rally then comes to an end when Cilic slices one into the net, giving Djokovic a crucial break. The world number one is about to serve for the second set...
SET! Djokovic moves into a two-set lead, and it would take a monumental effort for Cilic to recover from this one now - particularly as he is yet to even have a break point. The Croat does not make it easy for Djokovic in this game, however, moving into a 30-15 lead before a superb serve brings it back level. He makes short work of the next to bring up set point, and this time he is able to take it at the first time of asking as Cilic sends his shot into the net.
Two-set lead for Djokovic, then, and surely he will close this one out from here to book his spot in the semi-finals? Break points have been few and far between so far, but the world number one has made the most of them when they have arrived.
Brilliant tennis from Djokovic as he slides into one shot before racing in to comfortably reach a drop shot and send Cilic the wrong way for a winner. Cilic responds with a couple of big serves, however, and another Djokovic mis-hit gives the Croat another important hold when it looked for a moment like he could be in trouble.
Brilliant start to the game from Cilic as he sees Djokovic race in to the net and fires a fine passing shot down the line. Djokovic is not deterred, however, and again attacks on the next point, when he is rewarded with a relatively simple forehand winner. Three more quick points follow, and just like that it is another hold for Djokovic. Cilic just can't get any joy on the Novak serve.
More good defensive work from Djokovic, who is just so good at getting to shots he has no right to reach. A poor attempted lob allows Cilic to take the first point, however, while the big man shows a deft touch to secure the next with a pick-up shot at the net. Two more quick points follow for a love game.
Another game, another hold for Djokovic, and it is another routine one too. He races into a 40-0 lead before hitting a wonderful backhand cross-court effort to seal a love game. Not a bad response to having been on the wrong end of a love game in the last one.
Cilic is having very few problems on his own serve, but he could really do with a break. He makes short work of Djokovic this time around to move ahead in the third set.
Djokovic starts the game in the perfect fashion with an ace right on the line that leaves Cilic rooted to the spot, but he hits one long on the next point to bring it back to 15-15. Cilic returns the favour with interest, but Djokovic is unable to take immediate advantage as Cilic fights back to deuce. Some magnificent work from Djokovic at the net prevents the Croat from getting his first break point of the match, and he then sends one into the net to hand the game to the world number one.
BREAK! These rare lapses on his own serve look like they could cost Cilic today. He loses three points on the bounce to put Djokovic on the verge of another crucial break, but again bounces back to save the first break point. He hits a superb effort that even Djokovic can't reach on the baseline, but then hits his next one long to put the Serb on the brink.
Dominant tennis from Djokovic. He runs Cilic side to side and, despite the Croatian's best efforts, he is powerless to resist. Novak pulls out some more from the top drawer to move into a 40-0 lead, and he wraps up the love game to move one away from the semi-finals.
There were serious questions asked of Djokovic during that Kevin Anderson match in the last round - and indeed after the French Open - but he is looking in increasingly good form here. Cilic makes him wait to seal the match by storming back from 0-30 down to hold, but you get the feeling that he has merely delayed the inevitable here. The Croat has not had a break point yet, and now he must win against Djokovic's serve to stay in this match.
GAME, SET AND MATCH! There is the match, and a place in the semi-final for Djokovic. Cilic perhaps could do more with the opening point as he makes it simple for Djokovic to pass him, but from then on there is very little he can do to resist the world number one. Djokovic quickly moves to 40-0 and has three match points, but Cilic shows one final act of defiance with a fine passing shot to delay the celebrations. He sends the next one long, however, handing Djokovic the win in straight sets.
After that five-set classic against Kevin Anderson in the last round, that is exactly what Djokovic needed. It wasn't quite cruise control for the world number one, but he looked comfortable throughout and was never truly troubled on his own serve. Cilic did not earn a single break point throughout, and one lost serve of his own in each set proved to be the difference.
Cilic barely got a look in today, but it is important to note that he didn't actually play too badly. Djokovic played some very good stuff and, while it wasn't the most thrilling match of the tournament so far, the standard of the tennis was very high. Djokovic will now face either Richard Gasquet or Stanislas Wawrinka in the semi-finals.
That is all we have time for this evening! Thank you very much for joining Sports Mole
for this quarter-final as Djokovic progresses through to the last four 6-4 6-4 6-4. His semi-final opponent is still to be decided, and you can follow the conclusion of Wawrinka vs. Gasquet's five-setter here
. From me, though, it is goodbye for now!