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September 4, 2015

Marin Cilic

New York, NY, USA

M. CILIC/M. Kukushkin

6-7, 7-6, 6-3, 6-7, 6-1

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Any chance you being a US Open champion adds a little swagger when you're out there in this tough match, gets you through like today?
MARIN CILIC: For sure always has some weight to it. Playing on a big court with, you know, full house, that's going to give you some extra motivation in the situations like today when I was set and 5-2 down.

I was in the thought process that I am going to stay on the court as much as necessary to try to -- of course, I was feeling that I wasn't playing so well and then the ball wasn't coming off my racquet really well.

So I always focused on, you know, getting my legs in the best position and trying to make the match as physical as possible. Over time things got better, so that was pleasing.

Q. In the past, might you have said, This is it?
MARIN CILIC: No. In the past I was also playing a lot of five-set matches, especially in Grand Slams. I'm kind of used to that, have this mental part in me that is pretty good when it's coming into that kind of situation, just accepting that I'm not playing so well today, I'm playing a good opponent, I'm going to have to stay a bit longer on the court.

That's never a difficulty for me mentally. But today was, you know, very strange coming into the fourth set. I felt that Mikhail was struggling a little bit physically, and then I was really on top of him. Having a break up in the fourth, 15-40, few chances to go double break up.

From then on, you know, things got complicated. He was making a lot of shots and just swinging. It wasn't easy to play. I didn't know actually what to expect.

Q. Is it good to have a match like this under your belt where you get pushed, tiebreaks, five-setter, to be able to get through?
MARIN CILIC: Yeah, well, you're always going to try to take positives out of anything. That's the way it goes.

Yeah, of course, I'm happy with the fighting spirit today, just accepting that I wasn't playing so well, I wasn't serving so well. I was playing very bad in the first set serving for the set. The first-serve percentage in the first set was very, very low.

With things like this, giving myself extra chance to play better in two days is definitely huge part. Yeah, I'm not feeling physically exhausted, so that's a positive thing. I have to take it positively.

Q. Conditions a little bit better today? Seemed like it was cooler, less humid.
MARIN CILIC: Yeah, yeah, it was really good to play. I mean, still was bit humid, but I didn't have any difficulties with that. I was feeling as the match went on that my chances were getting better and better. I was feeling on the court that Mikhail was struggling more than me.

Q. You never have had trouble with cramping, have you?
MARIN CILIC: No, no. Maybe early in my career couple times, but not last several years.

Q. It was mostly cloudy today, but on a really sunny day, how do you deal with that on the serve? Is that the kind of thing where you have to be very conscious and move your toss, your stance? How do you work on that?
MARIN CILIC: Well, that's always tricky. I have a kind of a toss that is looking more to the side, so, you know, the sun doesn't bother me so much.

Just in some situations if it bothers me, trying to toss it in different ways. Of course, that's always going to play around with your effectiveness on the serve.

Usually I'm handling that pretty okay. Difficult part is the first shot after the serve, you know, still having the sun in your eyes.

You have to find a way. I mean, for both guys it's the same.

Q. There are very few players that wear sunglasses. Would that help?
MARIN CILIC: I never played with sunglasses so I can't say, but I would feel uncomfortable with that, yeah.

Q. When you have a match like this, you're rallying, you gut it out, grinding, what does Goran say after that? Is he pleased or is he pointing to the negatives that got you in that situation?
MARIN CILIC: Both. He's going to tell me straightforward what was bad in the match. Served incredibly bad today, you know, and a few things out of the match he's always going to be straightforward, very simple.

Of course, end of the day the most important is a win. Nobody is going to look at it that way. The worst part is when you play well and you lose. When you play bad and you win, that's always most pleasing.

Q. He doesn't soft pedal anything with you, play psychological games afterwards? He tells you what you did.
MARIN CILIC: Yeah, just straight. Plain and straight. (Smiling).

Q. You play the winner of Ferrer and Chardy. How do you prepare for that? Do you check that out?
MARIN CILIC: Yeah, I'm going to try to watch that. Ferrer was out since Wimbledon, so I'm going to try to watch few games, few sets, if I am going to have a chance.

I mean, I played both guys many times in the past, so I know roughly what I could expect. With Ferrer, you know, is always difficult battle in best-of-five-set matches. We played also in French Open. He played really well there.

So any of them is going to be definitely pretty tough, pretty tough opponent.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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