Former US Open champion Cilic loses on comeback from knee surgery

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Former US Open champion Cilic loses on comeback from knee surgery

Marin Cilic, a rusty former US Open winner, lost a thrilling match to Jan-Lennard Struff 3-6, 7-6 (7/4), 7-6 (9/7) at the Hong Kong Open on Tuesday. Cilic had nine match points but wasted them all.

After racing to a set and 5-2 up, the Croatian Cilic, who used to be ranked third in the world, looked like he was going to easily win his tough first-round match at Victoria Park against the tough big-serving German.

But Struff, ranked 25 in the world, was very determined to come back from the brink. He saved five match points in the second set to tie the match in a tiebreak.

Then, Struff saved four more match points in the deciding set, and after a marathon 3 hours and six minutes on Victoria Park’s middle court, he won.

It made Cilic happy that the surgery on his troubled right knee’s meniscus and cartilage that kept him out for most of 2023 had not hurt it.

“I had to say it was really positive feedback during the match after coming back from such an injury,” Cilic said. Cilic won his only major at Flushing Meadows in 2014 and has also made it to the finals of Wimbledon and the Australian Open.

A lot of things went wrong.

“I gave him a chance to come back for a while, but then things got tough,” Cilic, who is 6 feet 6 inches (1.98 m) tall, said while taping his knee.

“But it makes me feel really good about myself.” It was clear that some of the knee moves were a little out of date, but I think it will get better after a few more games.

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