After the overnight rain delay, Andy Murray finally put an exhausted Marin Cilic to bed on Court No. 1, wrapping up this Wimbledon fourth-round match 7-5 6-2 6-3.
The Croatian had been kept on court for over five and a half hours in his previous match against Sam Querrey, finally breaking the American in the 31st game of the fifth set of a match that also featured three tiebreaks.
While the match was no Isner-Mahut, it was enough to knock the stuffing out of an opponent who has won only twice this year after losing the first set.
Probably sensing that a quickfire approach was his only realistic hope of victory, the world number 18 got off to a flyer yesterday in the 69 minutes of play that were possible before the British summer did its traditional thing.
Cilic, current champion of Queen’s Club, took an early break, although he gifted it right back again thanks to a scatter-cushion forehand that’s about as trustworthy as a Bob Diamond IOU.Read more (201 words)
Some sponge-like defence from Murray sucked the last remaining energy from the Croat and the world number four secured the vital break in the 12th game. The Scot repeated the feat to go 3-1 up in the second set, only for the leaden skies to interject.
The players shared just two games on the resumption today before yet more wet stuff tipped from the heavens. When the clouds parted, Murray beefed up his returns and serve, too, to finish the set with an astonishing 75% second-serve success rate.
It was similar fare in set three, with the Scot saving four break points in the opening game with 130mph-plus first serves. Allied to a new tracer forehand, the result of endless drills under the stern gaze of Ivan Lendl, it was enough to see off the exhausted Croat, who looked ready for his Horlicks and teddy bear.
Rain delays apart, the gods have smiled kindly on Murray this fortnight, with Nadal unceremoniously removed and the potentially tricky Cilic sleepwalking his way to defeat.
Neat and clinical though this performance was, the Scot will need to up his game as he meets the Duracell bunny, David Ferrer, tomorrow, in a second consecutive slam quarter-final.