Much of the news at Wimbledon this year has centred around big-name departures. Marin Cilic’s loss at Wimbledon on Thursday certainly didn’t change that.
Sixth seed Grigor Dimitrov was shown the door on Day 1. An injured No.7 seed Dominic Thiem followed him on Day 2. Five of the top women’s eight seeds are also gone.
But Cilic exiting to Guido Pella was the biggest shock of the lot. Especially given that the in-form No.3 seed was leading by two-sets-to-love before bad weather suspended play on Wednesday night.
Guido Pella beating Main Cilic in by far the biggest upset of #Wimbledon so far, isn't it? Wozniacki, Kvitova, Dimitrov, Stephens, Thiem… all lost to foes you could make a case for.
— Nick McCarvel (@NickMcCarvel) July 5, 2018
Other big names avoided the upset bug on Day 4.
No.2 seed Rafael Nadal cruised to a straight-sets victory over Mikhail Kukushkin while fifth seed Juan Martin del Potro was a similarly-convincing winner over grass-court gun Feliciano Lopez.
Fellow seeds Novak Djokovic, Nick Kyrgios, Kyle Edmund and Kei Nishikori also progressed; Djokovic and Edmund will now meet in a blockbuster third-round meeting surely a lock for the Centre Court schedule on Saturday.
Karen Khachanov scored a five-set win over Marcos Baghdatis to set up a battle of the rising stars in the third round with Frances Tiafoe, a four-set winner over Julien Benneteau.
Former world No.10 Ernests Gulbis was another winner; the Latvian qualifier’s five-set win over 27th seed Damir Dzumhur takes his winning streak to five matches.
How did @guido_pella turn it around against Marin Cilic?
— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) July 5, 2018
Yet the talk of the day on the men’s side was Cilic’s stunning capitulation.
The recent champion at Queen’s Club and a finalist at Wimbledon last year, Cilic fell to a 3-6 1-6 6-4 7-6(3) 7-5 loss to Pella, an Argentine who’d never before been past the first round at the All England Club.
Pella now faces 103rd-ranked Mackenzie McDonald of the United States for a place in the last 16.
“I felt I had two different levels from yesterday and today,” Cilic said.
“I just was struggling a little bit to find the rhythm off the ground. I was missing some balls. It was not just the pressure. It was me not executing on the court well.
“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 (last night after the rain delay) the court was also very slippery. I lost there my serve.
“I think he played solid. Obviously he played much better today than yesterday. But 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.”
Cilic had been many a pundit’s pick for the title, especially after top seed and defending champion Roger Federer has displayed scratchy form all week in Halle, where he lost in the final to Borna Coric.
But the consistency that helped him win 13 of his past 15 matches and advance to the quarterfinals at Wimbledon the last four years running was just not there.
He finished with 63 unforced errors – including 37 off his forehand – compared with Pella’s total of 18.
“It’s still obviously big disappointment to lose in second round. Obviously I played really well in these last few weeks. Yeah, definitely disappointment,” Cilic said.
“But I’ll see (what’s next) with my team. We keep going.”
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