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Marin Cilic stunned at Wimbledon, boosts draw for Roger Federer, John Isner

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No. 3 seed Marin Cilic, the 2017 Wimbledon runner-up, was upset in the second round Thursday, leaving a major opening for American John Isner.

Cilic was also the highest seed (and only remaining Grand Slam winner) that Roger Federer could have faced before the final.

Argentina’s Guido Pella, ranked No. 82 in the world, shocked the Croatian Cilic 3-6, 1-6, 6-4, 7-6 (3), 7-5.

Cilic became the fourth top-10 seed in the men’s draw to go out in the first two rounds. Five of the top eight women have also been upset.

WIMBLEDON: Full Scores | Men’s Draw | Women’s Draw

Isner, the top-seeded American at No. 9, could benefit greatly from Cilic’s absence. Isner, who edged Belgian qualifier Ruben Belemans in five sets over two days in the second round, is the highest seed left in his quarter of the draw.

Isner gets 98th-ranked Moldovan Radu Albot in the third round. Isner has never made it past the third round in nine Wimbledon appearances. The biggest potential threats to Isner in the fourth round — No. 6 Grigor Dimitrov and three-time Grand Slam singles champion Stan Wawrinka — were already eliminated.

Isner and Cilic would have played in the quarterfinals. Now, the only seed Isner would face in a potential quarterfinal is No. 13 Milos Raonic, the 2016 Wimbledon runner-up.

Former champions Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal remained on course for a semifinal meeting in the other half of the draw.

Djokovic overcame a knee problem to beat Horacio Zeballos 6-1, 6-2, 6-3, while top-ranked Nadal defeated Mikhail Kukushkin of Kazakhstan 6-4, 6-3, 6-4.

Djokovic called for a trainer and had his left leg massaged when leading 4-3 in the third set. But he easily held serve in the next game and broke Zeballos again to close out the match.

“I’ve been doing checkups now. It seems like it’s nothing major,” Djokovic said of the injury. “When I say ‘not major,’ if it was major I’d be pulling out from the tournament. What I’m saying is that it’s most likely a twitch, you know, in the muscle or something like this that has affected the knee a little bit.”

Nadal won only 64 percent of points on his first serve and faced 13 break points — including three in the first game of the match — but he saved 11 of them and converted five of his own to wrap up the win in under 2 1/2 hours on Centre Court.

The 11-time French Open champion is looking for his third title at the All England Club and first since 2010.

Women’s No. 1 Simona Halep also advanced, winning the last 10 games to beat Saisai Zheng of China 7-5, 6-0. Saisai led 5-3 in the first set but Halep broke back for 5-5 and cruised the rest of the way against her 126th-ranked opponent.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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First Olympic women’s aerials champion Cheryazova dies at 50

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MOSCOW (AP) Lina Cheryazova, the first woman to win an Olympic aerials skiing gold medal, has died. She was 50.

Officials in the Russian city of Novosibirsk, where Cheryazova was living for the last two decades, said she died “following a lengthy illness,” without giving further details.

Competing for Uzbekistan, Cheryazova won gold with a triple flip when aerials skiing debuted on the Olympic program in 1994 in Lillehammer.

Shortly after winning, she learned her mother died three weeks before.

Cheryazova’s career was derailed later that year when she suffered a serious head injury while training in the United States, and spent days in a coma. She retired after failing to qualify for the 1998 Winter Olympics.

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Clare Egan notches first World Cup podium in biathlon season finale

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In the final biathlon event of the 2018-19 season, American Clare Egan recorded her first career World Cup podium finish, placing third in the mass start in Oslo, Norway. She hit 19 of 20 targets and crossed the finish line 10.4 seconds behind winner Hanna Oberg of Sweden. Norway’s Tiril Eckhoff finished second.

Egan, 31, made her Olympic debut at the 2018 PyeongChang Games, but considered retiring from biathlon at the end of the last season. “I decided that I wanted to do one more year, just for fun, just to see how much I could learn and how good a biathlete I could become,” Egan said in a U.S. Biathlon press release.

Her decision to continue has paid off: since the start of the 2018-19 season, Egan has posted the top eight finishes of her career (including three top-10 results). She concludes the season ranked 18th in the overall World Cup standings.

“I skied much faster this year than I have in the past and I think that was due to finally finding a good balance in my training, between working hard and resting. I did not train more, but the quality was much higher. I’m very excited for the next season,” Egan told U.S. Biathlon.