LONDON (Reuters) - Last year’s runner-up Marin Cilic served 21 aces as he made a solid start to the Wimbledon championships with a clinical 6-1 6-4 6-4 victory over Japan’s Yoshihito Nishioka on Monday.
Croatian Cilic, who lost last year’s final to Roger Federer, underlined his credentials for another Grand Slam title bid to add to his U.S. Open triumph in 2014.
The third seed, who won the Queen’s championship eight days ago, has been pleased with his preparations on grass.
“It’s slightly different than all the other surfaces as the ball skids through the court a bit quicker and you can slide the ball around a little bit easier than on hard courts,” Cilic told a news conference.
“Here you also play the opponent on the other side so you have to play the mind game, where to serve, what kind of serve to serve.
“So it’s not just hitting your spots and your patterns.
“(Queen’s) prepared me extremely well just in terms of my confidence. It’s very high. The grasscourt season is extremely short so you need to peak at the right time.”
Cilic made four service breaks in a match lasting one hour and 45 minutes on Court Two against the 22-year-old left-hander Nishioka, who returned to action in March after major knee surgery last year.
Cilic’s second-round opponent will be Argentine Guido Pella or Australian Jason Kubler.
“I’ve played Pella a couple times, he’s a very solid player, but I haven’t met him on grass... He’s getting better on grass so I have to be ready,” said Cilic, who has never faced Kubler.
Reporting by Rex Gowar, editing by Ed Osmond