Tennis: Marin Cilic ensures the Croatian title stays at home
Marin Cilic became the first home player to win the Croatia Open in 22 years last night by beating Marcel Granollers of Spain 6-4, 6-2 in the final.
Cilic trailed 4-2 in the first set before winning nine games in a row to seize a commanding 5-0 lead in the second.
Cilic served for the match at 5-1, but Granollers broke and saved two match points before Cilic sealed the victory with a forehand winner.
Cilic is the first Croat to claim the title since Goran Prpic won the inaugural event in 1990. It was his second title of the year, after winning at Queen’s Club last month.
“This was a special week and a special victory for me,” Cilic told the crowd in Umag. “I played some great tennis.”
Granollers said Cilic “was a better player today.” I started well, but with players like Cilic you have to be careful,” said Granollers, who ousted top-seeded countryman Fernando Verdasco in the semis.
Despite the loss, Granollers will crack into the top 20 in the ATP rankings on Monday for the first time, jumping from 24th to 19th. He won his last title in Valencia in November last year.
Meanwhile, Lleyton Hewitt’s bid to claim his first title in more than two years ended in failure tonight after he lost to John Isner in the final of the Campbell’s Hall Of Fame Tennis Championships in Newport. Former world No 1 Hewitt has not won an ATP Tour trophy since the pre-Wimbledon event in Halle in 2010 when he stunned Roger Federer in the final.
But he could not repeat the feat against top seed Isner who relied on his big serve to carry him to a 7-6 (7/1) 6-4 victory in one hour and 32 minutes.
After both players failed to capitalise on their one break point chance in the opening set, Isner built a 4-0 lead in the tie-break and closed it out on his first of five set points.
He broke Hewitt in the third game of the second set, and after the Australian saved one match point on serve in the ninth game, Isner clinched the victory with his 16th ace.
Despite the loss, it was an encouraging week for Hewitt, who has slipped to 233 in the rankings after battling to overcome a toe injury.
Elsewhere, French Open finalist Sara Errani continued her impressive year by claiming the Italiacom Open title in Palermo.
The top-seed had little trouble in claiming her fourth title of the year as she swept aside Barbora Zahlavova Strycova 6-1 6-3.
The victory ensured Errani became the first Italian to win four titles in a year after previous successes in Budapest, Barcelona and Acapulco.
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Wednesday 19 June 2013
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