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Cilic fires a warning to Wimbledon rivals after flourishing at Queen's

 

By Tom Allnutt

Former US Open champion Marin Cilic has warned his Wimbledon foes that he is playing the best tennis of his career after he beat American Stefan Kozlov at Queen's.

Cilic is the only top-five seed left at the Aegon Championships after Andy Murray, Stan Wawrinka and Milos Raonic all crashed out earlier in the week.

His 6-0 6-4 victory over Kozlov puts the Croatian three wins away from the title he secured in 2012 and continues an encouraging start to the grass season.

Last week, Cilic reached the semi-finals at the Ricoh Open in Holland, before losing two tie-breaks to the big-serving Ivo Karlovic, backing up his run to the last eight at the French Open.

"I'm playing well really since the clay season started," Cilic said. "In these last two, three months, I've been feeling great on the court and I would say consistency-wise maybe it's the best ever for me.

"But still I have to work to improve some areas and just maybe get better day after day."

Cilic, ranked seventh in the world, is among those in with an outside chance at Wimbledon, where his aggressive game and demon serve can be exploited.

It is perhaps a surprise then that he has never gone past the quarter-finals at SW19 but his obstacles - Novak Djokovic twice and Roger Federer last year - were considerable.

"If we would play a little bit more on grass it would be my number one surface," Cilic said. "But as it's such a short season, you can have some tough draws."

Cilic will now face another awkward grass-court opponent in American Donald Young while Sam Querrey overcame Murray's conqueror Jordan Thompson 7-6 (7-3) 3-6 6-3 to book a quarter-final with Gilles Muller.

Russian Daniil Medvedev is up against Grigor Dimitrov after beating Thanasi Kokkinakis 6-2 6-2 and Feliciano Lopez will face Tomas Berdych. The Spaniard beat Jeremy Chardy 6-1 7-6 (7-4).

Britain's Johanna Konta was knocked out of the Aegon Classic in the second round by American Coco Vandeweghe, 6-1 6-3.

Belfast Telegraph

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