Sunday 23 October 2016

Cilic confident after first round win at Wimbledon

Wayne Gardiner

Published 27/06/2016 | 18:16

Croatia's Marin Cilic in action during his match against USA's Brian Baker
Croatia's Marin Cilic in action during his match against USA's Brian Baker

Marin Cilic is in confident mood at Wimbledon after shaking off doubts about a first-round exit.

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The former US Open winner was dumped out of the French at the first-round stage last month by Marco Trungelliti and the ninth seed was minded not to suffer a similar outcome in London.

He avoided it with some ease, beating American Brian Baker 6-3 7-5 6-3 on Court 12.

"I'm feeling pretty confident at the moment," said Cilic, who sent down 18 aces en route to victory.

"I had a good week in Queen's and last week was a week to practice some things - obviously that helps just before a grand slam to settle up a little bit more.

"I always feel pretty comfortable on grass. But still I have to deliver it on the court.

"You know, today was definitely a bit of an uncomfortable match for me. I lost in the first round in Paris, so I had a little bit of that in the back of my mind."

Germany's Philipp Kohlschreiber was unable to match him and was the first seed to fall in the men's draw on the opening day.

The 32-year-old, competing in his 12th straight Wimbledon, fell in four sets to Frenchman Pierre-Hugues Herbert, the US Open doubles champion.

A 7-5 6-3 3-6 6-3 defeat for Kohlschreiber not only means an early exit but also that he has gone home in the first round of all three grand slams in 2016.

The Wimbledon 21st seed lost to Nicolas Almagro in France last month and to Kei Nishikori in Australia at the start of the year.

Spain's David Ferrer was highly impressive as he beat Dudi Sela on Court Three.

The highest-ranked Spaniard owing to Rafael Nadal's absence, Ferrer dropped only four games as he won 6-2 6-1 6-1.

It looked as though defending champion Novak Djokovic may not lose a game at all as he reeled off nine in a row against Great Britain's James Ward, before the Londoner mounted a semblance of a comeback.

He took the second set to a tie-break but Djokovic then saw things out 6-0 7-6 (7/3) 6-4.

Djokovic will next meet Frenchman Adrian Mannarino who was a straight-sets winner over another Briton, Kyle Edmund, 6-2 7-5 6-4.

Bosnian Damir Dzumhur went the distance against American Denis Kudla, while Almagro also had to dig deep to see off Rogerio Dutra Silva.

The Spaniard took the first two sets 6-3 7-6 (8/6) but then conceded the next two 7-5 6-3 before rediscovering his poise to take the decider 6-3.

Qualifier Lukas Lacko pipped Paolo Lorenzi in four sets, while Ivo Karlovic went to a tie break for the 25th and 26th times this season, winning them both and taking his yearly tally to 14 as he won an all-Croatian battle with Borna Coric.

Grigor Dimitrov looked good as he arrested a six-match losing run against Bjorn Fratangelo 6-3 6-4 6-2 and will next meet the 16th-ranked Gilles Simon, who beat Janko Tipsarevic in four sets.

Forty-six aces were sent down as Sam Querrey went the distance with Lukas Rosol, 33 of them from the American's racket. He lost the first two sets on tie-breaks but recovered to triumph 6-7 (6/8) 6-7 (5/7) 6-4 6-2 12-10.

Denis Istomin saw off Kevin Anderson, the 24th seed, and Briton Brydan Klein lost to Nicolas Mahut.

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