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Federer survives marathon Cilic battle

ESPN staff
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Roger Federer faces David Ferrer in the last eight © Getty Images
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Roger Federer survived a scare as he dug deep to beat a stubborn Marin Cilic in two hours and 39 minutes for a place in the last eight of the Rogers Cup.

As seeing in birthdays go, Federer's dogged 7-6(5) 6-7(3) 6-4 win may not have been the most enjoyable way to celebrate - the victory was sealed just half an hour before he turned 33.

Federer wasn't complaining, however. "It's nice winning those kind of matches, because I also lost a bunch in my career," said Federer.

"Especially this season I have lost some closer ones, especially in the stretch from Indian Wells, Miami, Monaco, Rome, Paris. So from that standpoint I'm very happy I came through tonight."

Cilic was unlucky to lose an extremely tight contest, with Federer winning just three more points (127-124) than his opponent throughout the match.

Federer took the only break of the entire contest, in the eighth game of the third set, having survived both break points he faced.

Cilic saved nine other break points on Thursday night, including six match points when he was serving at 4-5 in the second set.

"I thought Marin played really well, especially for longer periods. I'm happy I was able to find a way tonight."

The win sees Federer set up a quarter-final against David Ferrer, who came from a set down to defeat Ivan Dodig 1-6 6-3 6-3.

"[Ferrer] is an unbelievable returner and has some of the best second-serve returns in the game," said Federer. "If I don't play well, he's one of those guys that you're not going to come through [against]."

Federer has won the tournament twice, in 2004 and 2006, and a triumph this week would see him become the first player to record 300 victories at Masters level.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd

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