By Pete Hall
LONDON (Reuters) – Marin Cilic survived a difficult start to seal a spot in the Wimbledon third round after battling to a 7-6(2) 6-4 7-5 victory over German Florian Mayer in unrelenting heat on Court Two on Wednesday.
It looked as though the beaming sunlight was impeding the 6ft 6ins (1.98m) seventh seed as his trusted serve immediately deserted him.
Mayer, ranked 114th in the world and without a victory over a top-10 player in 12 grand slam matches, broke in the first game of the match, before having the opportunity to serve for the first set.
However, Cilic broke back, and found his high-powered service game at the pivotal moment, hammering three aces to help edge the first-set tiebreak.
The 2014 U.S. Open champion, who came into Wimbledon in good form having reached the final at Queen’s Club, fired four big winners to break in the ninth game of the second set before serving out the set.
Mayer did not give up without a fight, however, as he again broke the Cilic serve to lead 5-3 in the third, only to again flounder at the crucial moment, with Cilic storming back to win five games in a row and clinch victory with a trademark ace.
The Croatian will next face American Steve Johnson or Moldovan Radu Albot.
(Editing by Ed Osmond)