Pella Stuns No. 3 Seed Cilic, Nadal and Djokovic Advance Easily to Third Round at Wimbledon
(July 5, 2018) Guido Pella of Argentina rallied from two sets down to upset third seed and last year’s finalist Marin Cilic at Wimbledon 3-6, 1-6, 6-4, 7-6 (3), 7-5 to reach the third round.
The Croatian seeded third, was up two sets to none when the rains came on Wednesday and suspended the match twice before calling for match to be continued on Thursday.
“I don’t know (how I won), said the 82nd-ranked Pella. “Yesterday the match started so bad for me because he was playing so good, very solid from the baseline with big serves, and I couldn’t do almost nothing.
“So the rain came, and today was very different day because I started to feel very good. Just at the beginning of the fourth set — I close the set in the third with big serves, with big two games. Then I started to feel better and better.
“I saw him playing like a little bit slower than the day before. So I tried to fight every ball, tried to be close in the score, and that’s it.”
“Well, I was looking for this match (big grass court win) for years, but I never expect to be here in Wimbledon against Cilic, “ he said with a smile. That was the biggest surprise for me, because this is the third time I come here, the first time I win a single match in the main draw, and it was a big surprise.
“But I’m really, really happy, because I prepare myself very good to this tournament. I came to Stuttgart four weeks ago to play the grass court season, and to play like this it’s a good reward for me.”
With Cilic’s loss, 8th seeded Kevin Anderson remains the highest seed in top seeded Roger Federer’s half of the draw.
Cilic said that he struggles to find consistency after the rain. “Yesterday I played really good. Played great two sets. 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.”
“Today when we came back, obviously he served two good service games in that third set. Came back two sets to one. Obviously a little bit different situation.
“I was just not feeling as comfortable as yesterday with hitting. 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.”
“I think he played solid,” added Cilic. “Obviously he played much better today than yesterday. But I felt I had two different levels from yesterday and today. Even at some points, a lot of actually points that I had some short balls, and I was not executing them well. That was probably the decisive thing at the end.”
It was business as usual for world No. 1 and two-time champion Rafael Nadal. The 2008 and 2010 winner defeated Mikhail Kukushkin of Kazakhstan 6-4, 6-3, 6-4.
Nadal received a pair of time violations during the match.
“No one reaction,” said Nadal when asked about them. “That’s normal. I was slow at that moment. You know, I know I had to take the wristband, T-shirt, banana out, change everything.
“Probably I should go to toilet. If I go to the toilet, I had plenty of time to change everything without the time violation. I decided to stay on the chair.
“Yeah, I was slow enough to receive a time violation. Yeah, I accepted. That’s all. I think I was very quick during the match. Between sets I needed that time to change all these stuff because was a very humid day, that’s all.”
He could avoid, but he decided to make it, and I accept because, yeah, I was slow.
Former champion and 12th seed Novak Djokovic had an easy victory over Horacio Zeballos 6-1, 6-2, 6-3.
“I respect and I don’t underestimate any opponent,” said the Serb. “Obviously I’m very pleased with the way I played both (first and second round) matches, especially today. I thought my serve was working really well. Playing on grass, obviously having 10-plus aces in a match, it’s not a common feeling that I get to experience a lot. It definitely helps in the game itself. It helps me relax in other parts of my game.
“I felt I used it as a weapon today, had a lot of free points on the first serve. Yeah, I’m just hoping that I can build from these two matches and keep on going in the right direction.”
Djokovic twisted his knee towards the end of the match and needed a medical time out.
“It was a bad move during the point,” he said. It affected my knee a little bit. Yeah, I felt it all the way to the end of the match basically, last couple games.
“I’ve been doing checkups now. It seems like it’s nothing major. Hopefully, you know, tomorrow I’ll see on the practice session how it feels. Hopefully it’s going to be fine.”
Fifth seed Juan Martin del Potro is in the third round beating Feliciano Lopez 6-4, 6-1, 6-2.
Three-time major champion Stan Wawrinka on the comeback trail from knee surgery lost to Italian qualifier Thomas Fabbiano 7-6 (7), 6-3, 7-6 (6) completing a match from Wednesday.
Djokovic called for a trainer and had his left leg massaged when leading 4-3 in the third set. But he easily held serve in the next game and broke Zeballos again to close out the match.
Eighth seed Kevin Anderson hit 34 aces to beat Andreas Seppi 6-3, 6-7 (5), 6-3, 6-4.
Ninth-seeded John Isner nailed 64 aces and saved two match points in the fifth set to beat Ruben Bemelmans 6-1, 6-4, 6-7 (6), 6-7 (3), 7-5 in a match that was held over from Wednesday.
Other seeded winners on the men’s side of the draw include 15 Nick Kyrgios, 25 Philipp Kohlschreiber and 31 Stefanos Tsitsipas.
Denis Shapovalov, the 26th seed is added to the upset list. The Canadian teen lost to Frenchman Benoit Paire 0-6, 6-2, 6-4, 7-6 (3).
“He played a very good match and I didn’t play so well today,” said the Canadian. “He deserved to win clearly today.
I had all the momentum after the first set, and I blew that. After that, he played really well and I wasn’t able to play well.”
“I wasn’t able to sustain my level today. Missing a lot of first serves.
“It’s probably the big key of it, but, you know, I just have to look over the match again and just do some brainstorming, find out why, you know, this kind of thing keeps happening.
“It was kind of the same story in the French Open. I had a lot of momentum going my way, and then all of a sudden it just slipped away from me. Yeah, it’s a little bit disappointing.
“You know, I didn’t have a good grass court season. I got some tough draws. Wasn’t able to play my best tennis today, and, yeah, we’ll just have to move on from it and just learn from it.”
Qualifier and former semifinalist Ernest Gulbis defeated 27 seed Damir Dzumhurin five sets.