Wimbledon 2018: Nadal, Djokovic advance into third round; Cilic, Wawrikna crash out
Former champions Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic progressed into the third-round but last year’s runner-up Marin Cilic crashed out of the Wimbledon on Thursday.
World No. 1 Nadal may have defeated Mikhail Kukushkin 6-4, 6-3, 6-4 in straight-sets but was made to work hard for every point by the 77th ranked Kazakhstan player.
The game lasted for two hours and 23 minutes but not for a second were the spectators bored as both men kept it lively at the centre court with some high-tempo rallies and classy forehands.
“It was very tough because he played very well,” said Nadal, who is chasing an 18th Grand Slam title.
“On grass, the ball bounces really low so it was a good test. I knew it was going to be a tough match, so I went onto the court with the determination and intensity, thinking I can’t make any mistake,” added the 11-time French Open winner.
The three-time champion at the All England Club, Djokovic, however, faced no difficulties in brushing past Argentina’s Horacio Zeballos, 6-1, 6-2, 6-3.
It was the Serbian’s 60th victory at Wimbledon and he has now made the third round for 10 consecutive years.
Djokovic, will face either British 21st seed Kyle Edmund or US qualifier Bradley Klahn.
The only concern for the former world number one during the contest was when he was forced into getting treatment on his left thigh in-between the third set.
But that didn’t perturb Djokovic’s form as he hit 15 aces and 31 winners on course to a commanding victory.
Marin Cilic and Stan Wawrinka crash out
Third seed Cilic gave away a two-set advantage in his 3-6, 1-6, 6-4, 7-6 (7/3), 7-5 loss to the 82nd ranked Guido Pella of Argentina.
The 2014 US Open champion was leading by two sets when rain forced the tie to be postponed on Wednesday.
But the Croatian collapsed once the match had resumed at Court One on Thursday and Pella took full advantage to set up a third-round clash with Mackenzie McDonald.
“So the rain helped me a lot. Today I played differently, tried to be more aggressive, he started to feel uncomfortable. I tried to hit the ball hard and fight for every ball and I think in the end that’s why I won,” said the Argentine relishing his first win at Wimbledon.
Stan Wawrinka failed to carry forward his sublime form after the first round defeat of sixth seed Grigor Dimitrov, when he lost 7-6 (9/7), 6-3, 7-6 (8/6) to Italian qualifier Thomas Fabbiano.
The three Grand Slam winner was clumsy against the 133 ranked player and looked a lost-shadow of the former player that he was.
John Isner, saved two match points in the deciding set, to edge past Belgian qualifier Ruben Bemelmans 6-1, 6-4, 6-7 (6/8), 6-7 (3/7), 7-5.
The US ninth seed hit 64 aces and 88 winners to progress into the third round.