ZAGREB, June 27 (Xinhua) -- For the third time in his career, Croatian player Marin Cilic made it past the first week at The Championships in Wimbledon.
This time he did it by defeating No. 6 in the world, Czech Tomas Berdych in three sets, 7-6, 6-4, 7-6 on Court 3 at the All England Club on Friday, making it the first Top 10 victory at The Championships.
Tomas Berdych stubbornly refused to give-up in the third set, saving all six break points and pushing strong to take this match to another day. The darkness was looming over the All England Club when players went into a third set tie-break.
Both of them had different ideas of a perfect finish of the day: Berdych was hoping for a second life and coming back on Saturday with a one-set deficit and Cilic was aiming for a clean victory that would give him two days off before he would return to action on Monday.
Berdych took an early lead (2-0, 3-1) in the tie-break but Cilic answered by winning three points in a row. At 5-4 the Croat had two serves coming but lost his advantage in the next point. At 6-5 he had the first match point but Berdych's serve was too good.
After switching sides Cilic handled Berdych's serve and gave himself another chance to finish the match. The clock stopped at 9: 38 pm when Cilic threw his arms into the air and yelled as loud as he could to celebrate this great victory.
This was the latest finish of an outdoor match in Wimbledon history, beating previous record from 1981 by three minutes.
Once more Cilic's improved serve proved to be that weapon that he needed to win a big match. Beating 2010 Wimbledon finalist in a way he did, firing 20 aces and winning 81 per cent of the points after his first serve, is something that Cilic has to be proud of.
By beating Berdych Cilic showed that he's capable of doing even greater things at The Championships, starting with Monday and a match against his old rival, back from time when they were top juniors, Frenchman Jeremy Chardy who beat Ukrainian Sergiy Stakhovsky in the third round.
This will be Cilic's big test as he is seeking for his first quarter-final appearance at the All England Club.
Cilic remains only Croatian hope in Wimbledon. Ana Konjuh made Caroline Wozniacki to work hard for her 6-3, 6-0 victory over a 16- year-old big Croatian hope and Ante Pavic's run from qualifying ended in the second round as Feliciano Lopez beat him in three tough sets.