Marin Cilic was crowned champion at Queen’s for a second time as he recovered to prevent Novak Djokovic from claiming his first title in nearly 12 months, defeating the Serbian former World No.1 in a dramatic fightback, 5-7 7-6(4) 6-3 to lift the Fever Tree Trophy.
Cilic, who was appearing in the final for a fourth time having won it back in 2012, was on the verge of suffering his third loss when Djokovic held a match point in the second set.
It was a special win for me because last year I had a match point and didn't convert it, It was a tough match but I have waited six years to get my hands on this trophy." Marin Cilic
ut the world number six and top seed survived that threat to storm back from 4-1 down to force a tiebreak and push the final into a decider.
There the Croat left Djokovic shell-shocked as he powered his way to victory and his18th career title in what proved to be, at two hours and 57-minutes, the longest final in Queen’s history. He also banked a cheque for £413,601.
“It was a special win for me because last year I had a match point and didn’t convert it,” Cilic reminded the crowd after only his second win over Djokovic in 16 meetings. “It was a tough match but I have waited six years to get my hands on this trophy.”
It was a morale-boosting moment for Cilic who had finished as runner-up at both Queen’s and Wimbledon last year. He also lost in the final of the Australian Open at the start of the season.
A dejected Djokovic put on a brave face, saying: “I have to congratulate Marin on a fantastic week. He deserved to win and came up with some big shots.
“It’s a tough loss for me. But I have to see the positive because I haven’t played a final in almost a year.”
Djokovic, a three-time Wimbledon winner, had hoped his 99th career final would be a significant landmark in his bid to return to the top after a wretched run but his failure to convert that match point shows he still hasn’t fully recovered the form which he had when dominating the game.
In Germany, Cilic’s countryman Borna Coric, ended Roger Federer’s 20-match winning streak on grass, beating him in three sets 7-6(6) 3-6 6-2 in the Halle Open final, also bringing to a halt the Swiss maestro’s reign as world No.1, handing the position back to Rafa Nadal who wasn’t playing this week
Federer was denied a 10th title at the Gerry Weber Open as 34th-ranked Croatian handed the 36-year-old a setback in his Wimbledon preparations.