Wimbledon | Cilic goes down in five
Guido Pella made the most of a rain break which halted Marin Cilic’s progress into the third round on Wednesday evening.
With the score standing at 6-3 6-1 3-4 in favour of the third seed from Croatia, the Argentine ranked 82, looked well on the way to one the exit gates in SW19.
Yesterday he was playing so, so good, hitting the ball so hard I couldn’t do anything. The rain helped me a lot. Today I played different, I tried to be aggressive. Guido Pella
But on the players’ return, Pella came out of the blocks stronger wrapping up the third set and then holding firm in the second to force a tiebreak which he duly won to set up nail-biting decider on No.1 Court.
The Croat, a former US Open champion and last year’s runner-up at The Championships with a victory a few weeks ago over Novak Djokovic for the Queen’s title, was seriously being considered a major contender for this year’s title. He was due to meet the defending champion Roger Federer in the semi-finals but the Swiss no doubt will be happy that one of his major challengers has been eliminated by the unrated Pella in that decider, the victory secured on his fourth match point 3-6 1-6 6-4 7-6(3) 7-5.
Pella, who as surprised as anyone by the result, said on coming off court: : “Yesterday he was playing so, so good, hitting the ball so hard I couldn’t do anything.
“The rain helped me a lot. Today I played different, I tried to be aggressive. He started to feel a bit uncomfortable. I tried to fight really hard.”
Cilic admitted that he had agreed with the decision to hold the match overnight in view of the intermittent rain on Wednesday evening.
They had returned for one game when Cilic’s serve was broken but immediately stopped as the Croat slipped on the final point.
“We were waiting over there, just behind the court. When we came back, it was not raining,” Cilic said. “When we warmed up, it started to rain again. The court was not as dry. We were talking with the referees.
“They said if we want to keep on, just to try to see how it goes, we can.
“We decided, both of us, to give it a try.
“But the court was still quite slippery. It was just a little bit unfortunate to finish the day like that.”
He went on to add: “It was a little bit unfortunate to stop last night when I was break down. 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.”