The Croatian is surely going to be one of the favourites ahead of the Wimbledon Championship next month
Marin Cilic outlined his credentials as a potential Wimbledon champion by winning a second title at Queen’s.
The number one seed fought off a match point to defeat Novak Djokovic 5-7 7-6 (7/4) 6-3 in a gruelling two hours and 57 minutes in the Fever-Tree Championships final.
It earns Cilic redemption for his final defeat here to Feliciano Lopez 12 months ago and is the second time he has lifted the trophy after he first won it in 2012 – when David Nalbandian defaulted by kicking an advertising board.
The Croatian will now be among the firm favourites for SW19 which starts next Monday after a faultless week in west London.
Djokovic will also be well fancied for a fourth title at Wimbledon but his trophy drought now goes beyond a year – the longest time between titles in his career.
It was something of a return to form for the 12-time grand slam champion this week, though, and he could easily have won in what was his 99th career final, but missed that match point in the second set.
Cilic had looked imperious throughout his run to the final and made his move in the seventh game of the opening set.
However, Djokovic repelled five break points, showing the sort of defensive prowess he used to offer up in his pomp.
And then, with Cilic serving to send it to a tiebreak, Djokovic raised his returning game and broke, with the Croatian dumping a forehand into the net.
Djokovic had an early look at a break point in the second set, but Cilic snuffed it out before facing even more danger at 4-5.
The Serb returned superbly to force a match point but the Croatian fended it off with some big-serving.
Cilic was then a mini-break down in the tiebreak, but reeled off six points on the bounce to force a decider, taking the second set 7-6 (7/4).
It was a tense decider and Cilic produced a moment of quality to tee up the only break of serve at 4-3.
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Chasing down a wide ball, the Croatian fired a stunning forehand winner on to the line that left Djokovic applauding.
He then served it out to love to claim his second title at Queen’s.