Nadal, Djokovic win but Cilic out

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail SHINE, July 6, 2018
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Rafael Nadal of Spain hits a return during the men's singles second round match against Mikhail Kukushkin of Kazakhstan at the Championship Wimbledon 2018 in London, Britain, on July 5, 2018. Rafael Nadal won 3-0. (Xinhua/Guo Qiuda)

Former champions Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic battled into the Wimbledon third round yesterday but third seed and 2017 runner-up Marin Cilic crashed out.

World No. 1 Nadal defeated Mikhail Kukushkin of Kazakhstan 6-4, 6-3, 6-4 and will next face Australian teenager Alex de Minaur.

Djokovic, the three-time champion, needed treatment on his left thigh on Court Two but still had too many weapons for Argentina's Horacio Zeballos, winning 6-1, 6-2, 6-3.

Djokovic has now made the third round for 10 consecutive years and will face either British 21st seed Kyle Edmund or US qualifier Bradley Klahn.

Cilic blew a two-set lead in his 3-6, 1-6, 6-4, 7-6 (3), 7-5 loss to Argentina's Guido Pella, ranked at 82.

When rain forced the tie to be postponed on Wednesday, Cilic was leading by two sets against an opponent who had never won a match at Wimbledon before this year. But the Croatian collapsed once the match resumed on Court One yesterday and Pella took full advantage to set up a third-round clash with Mackenzie McDonald.

Cilic, the 2014 US Open champion, had been expected to mount a strong challenge for the Wimbledon title after winning the grasscourt warm-up at Queen's Club two weeks ago.

But his defeat is good news for defending champion Roger Federer, who was on course to face Cilic in the semifinals.

"Yesterday he was playing so good, hitting the ball so hard that I couldn't do anything," Pella said.

"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."

Nadal, the 2008 and 2010 champion, was tested by world No. 77 Kukushkin, a player who is coached by his wife.

The Kazakh player was made to pay for converting just two of 13 break points in the match on Centre Court.

"It was very tough because he played very well," said 11-time French Open champion Nadal, who is chasing an 18th major. "On grass, the ball bounces really low so it was a good test."

Three-time major winner Stan Wawrinka was unable to follow up his first-round defeat of sixth seed Grigor Dimitrov when he lost 6-7 (7), 3-6, 6-7 (6) to Italian qualifier Thomas Fabbiano.

Australian 17th seed Ashleigh Barty reached the third round for the first time with a 6-4, 7-5 win over fellow ex-Wimbledon junior champion Eugenie Bouchard.

Women's top seed and French Open champion Simona Halep, a semifinalist in 2014 and a quarter-finalist in the last two years, then beat China's 126-ranked Zheng Saisai 7-5, 6-0.

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