Cilic ends five-year ti­tle drought

New Straits Times - - Sport -

IS­TAN­BUL: Marin Cilic warmed up for this month’s French Open by cap­tur­ing his first clay­court ti­tle in five years with a 7-6 (7-3), 6-3 win over Cana­dian top seed Mi­los Raonic in the Is­tan­bul Open fi­nal on Sun­day.

The Croa­t­ian sec­ond seed fired down nine aces and saved all seven break points he faced to emerge tri­umphant in the bat­tle of the big servers.

The 28-year-old claimed only his sec­ond clay­court ti­tle, and 17th over­all, af­ter not drop­ping a set all week.

“I’m on a good track and feel­ing very well,” Cilic, whose only pre­vi­ous clay­court ti­tle came on home soil in Umag in 2012, told re­porters.

“In these last three or four weeks on clay, it’s never easy, but I’m try­ing to get bet­ter with ev­ery match. This week was a big one for me and a good sign for the rest of the clay­court sea­son. I hope I can im­prove in these up­com­ing three tour­na­ments — two Masters 1000 events and the French Open.”

Af­ter frus­trat­ing Raonic by bag­ging the closely-fought first set, Cilic cap­i­talised on two dou­ble faults to break for a 3-1 lead in the sec­ond set.

The 2014 US Open cham­pion wrig­gled out of trou­ble in the next game de­spite be­ing 0-40 down and com­pleted vic­tory with an ace on his sec­ond cham­pi­onship point.

“The crit­i­cal points came in the tiebreak. I man­aged to play a re­ally good tiebreak and hit a few great back­hands down the line,” added Cilic.

“Then in the sec­ond set, get­ting that break and hold­ing for 31 was def­i­nitely the de­cid­ing mo­ment.” Reuters

EPA PIC

Marin Cilic with his tro­phy af­ter beat­ing Mi­los Raonic in the fi­nal of the Is­tan­bul Open on Sun­day.

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