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Cilic Crashes Out of Wimbledon Second Round

Marin Cilic of Croatia returns to Guido Pella of Argentina in their second round match during the Wimbledon Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis Club, in London, Britain, 04 July 2018. EPA-EFE/GERRY PENNY



By Richard Pagliario


Tension was tightening and Marin Cilic’s shots where shrinking.


Successive flat forehands expired into the top of the tape abruptly ending Cilic’s Wimbledon run.


The 2017 Wimbledon finalist squandered a two-set lead, lost the range on his forehand and crashed out of the Wimbledon second round in a stunning 3-6, 1-6, 6-4, 7-6 (3), 7-5 upset loss to Argentinian left-hander Guido Pella.


The third-seeded Cilic is the highest men’s seed to fall this week and fourth Top 10 seed to exit The Championships.


“It’s still obviously big disappointment to lose in second round,” Cilic said. “Obviously I played really well in these last few weeks. Yeah, definitely disappointment.”


The 29-year-old Croatian joins sixth-seeded Grigor Dimitrov, seventh-seeded Dominic Thiem and 10th-seeded David Goffin on the early exit list.


It took two days and a tense three hours and 13 minutes, but a pumped-up Pella pulled off his first Top 5 victory.


The second-round clash began Wednesday, but was suspended due to rain and carried over into today with Cilic holding a 6-3, 6-1, 3-4 lead.


The rain delay gave Pella time to reasses his game and he returned recharged.


“Yesterday, he was playing so, so good hitting the ball so hard I couldn’t do anything,” Pella said. “So the rain helped me a lot. Today, I played different. I tried to play more aggressive and he wasn’ so comfortable on the court. I tried to hit the ball hard and try to fight for every ball.”


The world No. 82 reached the third round of a Grand Slam for the first time in his 16th major appearance. Pella will play former UCLA all American Mackenzie McDonald for a spot in the fourth round.


Ninth-seeded John Isner, 2016 finalist Milos Raonic and 31st-seeded Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas, who all reside in Cilic’s quarter of the draw, can benefit from the Croatian’s exit.


Cilic’s departure also clears another potential hurdle for top-seeded Roger Federer, who defeated the bearded Croatian in the 2017 Wimbledon final and 2018 Australian Open final, and was on course for a potential semifinal showdown.


The pair briefly returned to court Wednesday night and Cilic was broken. When play resumed today, Pella backed up the break with a love hold, eventually closing the third set.


Staring down a break deficit in the fourth set, Pella rallied firing his lefty forehand with ambition and accuracy to take the fourth set.


The Australian Open finalist said he never quite regained his range and rhythm when the match resumed today.


“It was a little bit unfortunate to stop last night when I was break down,” Cilic said.


“And also when we came back the court was also very slippery. I lost there my serve. Today obviously he won that third set. In the fourth, I just was struggling a little bit to find the rhythm off the ground. I was missing some balls.


“We exchanged two breaks during the set. I had even a mini break in the tiebreak, 2-Love, lost it. Third set had a couple breakpoints in the beginning at 2-All, but just didn’t feel so good. I was not as accurate as yesterday. I was just missing some balls, giving him chance to keep playing.”


It is the second career Wimbledon win for Pella, who had fallen in the first round in nine of his previous 15 Grand Slam appearances.


The third-seeded Cilic, who warmed up for Wimbledon defeating Nick Kyrgios and Novak Djokovic in succession to capture his second Queen’s Club crown, lost his edge and felt the nerves in the latter stages.


Struggling to land first serves at critical stages in the final games, Cilic fought off a pair of match points holding for 5-all. But Cilic netted a forehand to face a fourth match point then pasted a second forehand into the top of the tape to end it.


“I was just not feeling as comfortable as yesterday with hitting,” Cilic said. “I was not as accurate. I was just missing some balls, some easy balls, giving him a chance to come back. That was playing the part. It was not just the pressure. It was me not executing on the court well.”


Pella, who withstood 27 aces from Cilic, raised his arms toward his box in a combination of exhilaration and disbelief scoring the greatest win of his career.


The 2014 US Open champion, who contested finals in two of his last four majors, wasn’t the only Grand Slam champion to go down today.


Three-time major champion Stan Wawrinka lost to Italian qualifier Thomas Fabbiano, 7-6 (7), 6-3, 7-6 (6), one round after Wawrinka knocked sixth-ranked Grigor Dimitrov out in the first round.


“For sure I’m really disappointed to lose a match like yesterday and today,” said Wawrinka, who played Wimbledon for the first time since undergoing two knee surgeries last year. “I think I was playing really well yesterday. It was really making the game. During the match, I was a little bit between in my game, not aggressive enough, not moving well enough.


“Yeah, I had a lot of set points in the first set. Set points again today. Could change a lot. Unfortunately I lost in three sets.”


Contesting just the fifth grass-court match of his career, the 133rd-ranked Fabbiano was trailing 5-6 in the third set when play resumed today.


Fabbiano saved a pair of break points in the tie break when Wawrinka missed his signature shot, the one-handed backhand. Fabbiarno fought back to close his biggest Grand Slam victory in two hours, 44 minutes.


Next up for Fabbiano is talented Greek teenager Stefanos Tsitsipas, who hit 18 aces in a 6-3, 6-2, 3-6, 4-6, 6-3 triumph over American Jared Donaldson in three hours, 25 minutes.


Want a quick laugh From Dusan Vemic? click below


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