London: US Open champion Marin Cilic took just two games to see off John Isner on Saturday after returning to finish off their Wimbledon match poised at 10-10 in the final set.
Marin Cilic. Pic/AFP
The big-serving duo have been involved in the two longest matches ever played at Wimbledon so it was no surprise that their third round encounter rumbled on into a second day after being called off for bad light on Friday.
Croatian Cilic, the ninth seed, beat the US 17th seed 7-6 (7/4), 6-7 (6/8), 6-4, 6-7 (4/7), 12-10 on Court One in a match that lasted four hours and 31 minutes in total. "I was playing yesterday really good and I was close to finishing it off and I think throughout all the match I was the one who was putting more pressure on the returns," Cilic said after winning on a fifth match point.
"I was hoping today I was going to continue with that but you never know, it's a new day, new conditions and I'm lucky that I broke him the first game. "At these situations you have to keep your calmness and I was really focused to hold my serve." Cilic sent down 35 aces, while Isner hit 37. He finally won on an Isner double fault on Cilic's fourth match point.
He faces US wildcard Denis Kudla for a place in the quarter-finals. Five years ago, Isner beat Frenchman Nicolas Mahut at Wimbledon in the longest tennis match ever played. The contest took 11 hours and five minutes of play over three days, with the American winning 70-68 in the final set.
In 2012, Cilic beat Sam Querrey in a match that took five hours and 31 minutes, the Croat claiming the fifth set 17-15 in the second-longest match ever at Wimbledon.