Benjamin Franklin once said in a letter to his friend Jean Baptiste Le Roy that nothing was certain in this life except death and taxes. Had he been writing more recently he would most likely have added “rain disruption at Wimbledon” to that grim list.
Almost inevitably, it was rain that turned an apparently routine straight-sets victory over 16th seed Marin Cilic into a multi-day marathon. By the time Murray stepped off court he had racked up only two hours and 10 minutes of game time; it would have seemed like a lot longer to the 4th seed, who had begun his fourth round match almost 24 hours earlier.
When play started at 15:45 on Monday, it was the Croatian who drew first blood, claiming Murray’s serve in the opening game and setting the tone for what would be an awkward first set for both players. After some sloppy net play by Cilic, Murray eventually took the opening set 7-5 and immediately raced to a 3-1 lead in the second.
Evidently Murray getting into his stride was in some way and affront to the gods, who called a halt to proceedings by delivering a liberal sprinkling of rain approximately one hour 10 minutes into the match. And so the curtain fell on day one of the encounter.
Picking up where they left off, the two players lined up once again at 12:10 on Tuesday. Murray seemed to have lost none of the spark and promise he had shown in the early games of the second set and looked to be almost enjoying himself.
This continued for all of five minutes, then down came the rain and on went the covers once more.
When play finally got underway again almost an hour later, Murray found himself quickly able to regain the momentum and make short work of finishing off the second set; forcing Cilic to gamble at the net and then selling him a sublime lob to claim the set 6-2.
A strong display from Murray saw the Scot take the third and final set in similar fashion, the power that Cilic had shown in the opening games gradually wilting under the guile Murray’s play and the wicked accuracy of his serving. It began to look as if Marin Cillic’s epic five-and-half-hour round three struggle with American Sam Querrey had really taken its toll on the 23-year-old and by the end he and Murray looked poles apart in terms of class.
So, Marin Cilic bows out after equalling his career best showing at the All England Club, while Murray advances to a potentially tricky quarter final with 7th seed David Ferrer. After Tuesday’s disruption, Andy Murray will have everything crossed for a Centre Court draw.
Either that or for the big-hitting Spaniard to bring some Iberian sun with him.
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