LONDON (AP) — Guido Pella of Argentina came from two sets down to stun third-seeded Marin Cilic at Wimbledon on Thursday, beating last year’s finalist 3-6, 1-6, 6-4, 7-6 (3), 7-5 in the second round.
Cilic looked headed for a routine victory before the match was suspended by rain in the third set on Wednesday but the former U.S. Open champion couldn’t find the same rhythm on Thursday.
“Yesterday he was playing so, so good, and hitting the ball so hard that I couldn’t do anything,” the 82nd-ranked Pella said. “So the rain helped me a lot.”
Cilic was runner-up to Roger Federer last year and showed great form by beating Novak Djokovic in the Queen’s Club final last month. His early exit opens up Federer’s path to the final even more, with No. 8 Kevin Anderson the highest-seeded player left in the Swiss star’s half of the draw after No. 6 Grigor Dimitrov lost in the first round.
“I was just not feeling as comfortable as yesterday with hitting,” Cilic said. “I was not as accurate. I was just missing some balls, some easy balls, giving him a chance to come back.”
Stan Wawrinka also exited, losing to Italian qualifier Thomas Fabbiano 7-6 (7), 6-3, 7-6 (6). That match was also suspended on Wednesday with Wawrinka leading 6-5 in the third set, but Fabbiano wrapped up the victory quickly to equal his best Grand Slam result by reaching the third round.
Wawrinka, whose ranking has fallen to 224th following knee surgery, came from a set down to upset sixth-seeded Grigor Dimitrov in the first round for just his second Grand Slam victory since last year’s Wimbledon.
Former champions Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal remained on course for a semifinal meeting.
Djokovic overcame a knee problem to beat Horacio Zeballos 6-1, 6-2, 6-3, while top-ranked Nadal defeated Mikhail Kukushkin of Kazakhstan 6-4, 6-3, 6-4.
Djokovic called for a trainer and had his left leg massaged when leading 4-3 in the third set. But he easily held serve in the next game and broke Zeballos again to close out the match.
“I’ve been doing checkups now. It seems like it’s nothing major,” Djokovic said of the injury. “When I say ‘not major,’ if it was major I’d be pulling out from the tournament. What I’m saying is that it’s most likely a twitch, you know, in the muscle or something like this that has affected the knee a little bit.”
Nadal won only 64 percent of points on his first serve and faced 13 break points — including three in the first game of the match — but he saved 11 of them and converted five of his own to wrap up the win in under 2 1/2 hours on Centre Court.
The 11-time French Open champion is looking for his third title at the All England Club and first since 2010.
Anderson hit 34 aces to beat Andreas Seppi 6-3, 6-7 (5), 6-3, 6-4 and set up a third-round meeting with Philipp Kohlschreiber of Germany.
Ninth-seeded John Isner hit 64 aces and saved two match points to beat Ruben Bemelmans 6-1, 6-4, 6-7 (6), 6-7 (3), 7-5 in a match that was also suspended overnight.
Isner’s ace total was the third-highest ever at Wimbledon — behind his own record in a three-day epic against Nicolas Mahut in 2010, the longest tennis match in history. Isner had 113 aces in that match and Mahut hit 103.
Isner faced two match points against Bemelmans at 5-4 in the fifth set but held and then broke in the next game.
Women’s No. 1 Simona Halep also advanced, winning the last 10 games to beat Saisai Zheng of China 7-5, 6-0. Saisai led 5-3 in the first set but Halep broke back for 5-5 and cruised the rest of the way against her 126th-ranked opponent.