Cilic comes through war of attrition

Murray's next opponent is forced to battle for five and a half hours to subdue gritty American

Wimbledon

Expected to come through as the next opponent for the winner of last night's meeting between Andy Murray and Marcos Baghdatis, the world No 18 Marin Cilic from Croatia managed to make exceptionally hard labour of his third-round match against the American Sam Querrey, ranked 46 places below him.

It took five sets and as many hours before he saw off Querrey's defiant challenge 7-6 6-4 6-7 6-7 17-15. At five hours 31 minutes, it was the second longest match in Wimbledon history.

The Californian Querrey specialises in hanging on for tie-breaks and here he followed up a similarly dogged success in the previous round over the seeded Canadian Milos Raonic by recovering from two sets down, drawing level with the benefit of tie-breaks and then taking the fifth set to 32 games. It was an unremitting baseline contest very much in the style of a modern men's match of tall, strong servers – each of them is 6ft 6in – neither of whom were keen to stray far towards the net.

By a weary fifth set it had become difficult for either man to win points against the serve, but Cilic's stamina stood up well again; he has now won his last four five-setters.

So he was able to repeat last month's victory at Queen's over Querrey after a Court Two crowd that included fellow countryman Goran Ivanesevic saw him lose control of a match he seemed to have in his grasp. He then played an inconsistent third set, losing the tie-break, and was on the back foot for most of the fourth, which finished the same way.

In winning the recent Queen's tournament, Cilic was helped by his opponent in the final David Nalbandian being defaulted after blowing a gasket and drawing blood from a line judge's shin in the process. It meant the Croatian was on a winning streak of seven matches, which he eventually extended here.

Once as high as No 9 in the world, he says he enjoys grass courts because of his height and style of play, which includes a powerful double-handed backhand. But he has won only one of his six meetings with Murray, in straight sets at the US Open three years ago. Their most recent match was at the Paris Open in 2010, which Murray won in three after he had hit the ball away in disgust and narrowly missed a ball boy, thus avoiding the fault for which Tim Henman was once disqualified at Wimbledon. "It will be another difficult match," Cilic said of the next challenge. "It's going to be a little bit different, there will be longer points and rallies, with more running. I have to go into the match with positive thinking. I know how much it means to him but it means a lot to me."

Querrey again demonstrated a capacity to stay in a set and take it as far as a tie-break. He had broken serve in the first game of the match before allowing Cilic back into it and losing the tie-break 7-6. In the second set Cilic improved the percentages on his first serve and took it 6-4 but in the third-set tie-break he fell apart, trailing 4-0 and 5-1 before playing two wild shots that gave Querrey the decider 7-2. The fourth set was similar and breaks, or even break points, were becoming rare as the match reached its climax.

In the fifth there was not a break of service between Cilic drawing level at 6-6 and the denouement. Querrey looked if anything more comfortable but at 15-15, the Croatian set up a break point when Querrey drove long and unsuccessfully challenged, then netted to fall behind. To the 81st game of the match, in which Cilic moved his man all over the court during a long baseline rally to earn a match point, which he claimed when Querrey went long with his return. Even the umpire was weary.

Sport
The Pipes and Drums of The Scottish Regiments perform during the Opening Ceremony for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games at Celtic Park on July 23, 2014 in Glasgow, Scotland.
Commonwealth gamesThe actor encouraged the one billion viewers of the event to donate to the children's charity
Sport
Members of the Scotland deleagtion walk past during the opening ceremony of the 2014 Commonwealth Games at Celtic Park in Glasgow on July 23, 2014.
Voices
voicesGood for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, writes Grace Dent
Arts and Entertainment
The Tour de France peloton rides over a bridge on the Grinton Moor, Yorkshire, earlier this month
film
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
fashion Designs are part of feminist art project by a British student
News
Very tasty: Vladimir Putin dining alone, perhaps sensibly
news
Life and Style
Listen here: Apple EarPods offer an alternative
techAre custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?
Arts and Entertainment
Top guns: Cole advised the makers of Second World War film Fury, starring Brad Pitt
filmLt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a uniform
News
The University of California study monitored the reaction of 36 dogs
sciencePets' range of emotions revealed
News
Snoop Dogg pictured at The Hollywood Reporter Nominees' Night in February, 2013
people... says Snoop Dogg
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from Shakespeare in Love at the Noel Coward Theatre
theatreReview: Shakespeare in Love has moments of sheer stage poetry mixed with effervescent fun
News
Joining forces: young British men feature in an Isis video in which they urge Islamists in the West to join them in Iraq and Syria
newsWill the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?
Arts and Entertainment
The nomination of 'The Wake' by Paul Kingsnorth has caused a stir
books
News
i100
Life and Style
food + drinkZebra meat is exotic and lean - but does it taste good?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform
Climate change threatens to make the antarctic fur seal extinct

Take a good look while you can

How climate change could wipe out this seal
Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier for the terminally ill?

Farewell, my lovely

Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier?
Man Booker Prize 2014 longlist: Crowdfunded novel nominated for first time

Crowdfunded novel nominated for Booker Prize

Paul Kingsnorth's 'The Wake' is in contention for the prestigious award
Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster to ensure his meals aren't poisoned

Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster

John Walsh salutes those brave souls who have, throughout history, put their knives on the line
Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

A $25m thriller starring Sam Worthington to be made in God's Own Country
Will The Minerva Project - the first 'elite' American university to be launched in a century - change the face of higher learning?

Will The Minerva Project change the face of higher learning?

The university has no lecture halls, no debating societies, no sports teams and no fraternities. Instead, the 33 students who have made the cut at Minerva, will travel the world and change the face of higher learning
The 10 best pedicure products

Feet treat: 10 best pedicure products

Bags packed and all prepped for holidays, but feet in a state? Get them flip-flop-ready with our pick of the items for a DIY treatment
Commonwealth Games 2014: Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games

Commonwealth Games 2014

Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games
Jack Pitt-Brooke: Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism

Jack Pitt-Brooke

Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism
How Terry Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

How Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

Over a hundred rugby league players have contacted clinic to deal with mental challenges of game