Cilic Fires 21 Aces, Into Second Round At Wimbledon

World No. 5 making his 12th straight appearance at The All England Club

Marin Cilic safely booked his place in the second round at Wimbledon for the seventh consecutive year, defeating Yoshihito Nishioka 6-1, 6-4, 6-4 on Monday.

The 2017 runner-up, who won his second Fever-Tree Championships title just eight days ago, fired 21 aces and won 89 per cent of first-serve points en route to victory after one hour and 46 minutes.

"I think [winning the Fever-Tree Championships] prepared me extremely well, just in terms of my confidence. It's very high. I played five quality matches over there," said Cilic. "I was aware that most of the guys who were playing great at Queen's were also continuing to play again over here."

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Cilic improves to 28-10 at SW19 after his straight-sets victory and remains unbeaten on grass this season (6-0). Nishioka, who is continuing his comeback from ACL surgery in 2017, was bidding to reach the second round for the first time. The 22-year-old also suffered a first-round loss on his only previous appearance in 2016.

"Luckily I opened really nicely and got a double break in the first set," said Cilic. "Yoshihito, later in the second and third, showed good tennis. He was very solid... so he made me work.

"But I felt quite confident in my serving. I served really well. Didn't have too much trouble during the match and I am definitely extremely happy with that."

The World No. 5 will face Argentina's Guido Pella in the second round. Pella defeated Jason Kubler of Australia 6-4, 7-5, 4-6, 7-6(3) in three hours and eight minutes. Cilic owns a 1-0 FedEx ATP Head2Head record against Pella.

"[Pella is a] very solid player, and he had great success on clay and hard courts, grass not really that much," said Cilic. "We haven't played on grass. But I have seen that he played in Stuttgart, won a couple of matches, and obviously he's getting better on grass."

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Kevin Anderson notched his 60th Grand Slam victory to beat Slovakia's Norbert Gombos 6-3, 6-4, 6-4.

The inaugural New York Open champion, appearing at Wimbledon for the 10th time, hit 19 aces to advance after one hour and 55 minutes. Anderson is bidding to reach his first quarter-final at Wimbledon this year, after falling at the Round of 16 stage in three of the past four years.

"I was able to do a good job taking care of my serve games... I felt I played much better in the second and third set," said Anderson. "It was still gusty, hard to find a great rhythm out there, but walking off a grass-court match in straight sets is always a job well done."

The South African has now won nine consecutive matches against Grand Slam qualifiers. Anderson's only defeat against a major qualifier came at the 2011 Australian Open, where he lost in four sets to Blaz Kavcic of Slovenia.

"I felt it took a little bit of time just getting used to conditions... When you've never played an opponent before, you're not quite sure what to expect," said Anderson. "He hits the ball pretty flat, pretty hard. I think he's a pretty good grass-court player."

The World No. 8 will meet Italy's Andreas Seppi in the second round. Seppi won 29 of 32 first-serve points in a 6-2, 6-4, 6-1 victory over John-Patrick Smith.

"[Seppi] is definitely one of the veterans of the tour," said Anderson. "He's a very clean ball striker, very experienced. I played a great match against him last year, so I'd love to bring out that same sort of form on Wednesday. But it's always different. Conditions could be different. You have to be prepared for anything."

Did You Know?

By reaching the Wimbledon final in 2017, Marin Cilic became just the second Croatian player to reach multiple Grand Slam finals (Goran Ivanisevic).
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