Kyrgios Beats Cilic For First ATP Title
Australian caps dream week in Marseille with first title
The 20-year-old Australian lifted his first silverware on the ATP World Tour at the end of a stunning week, which saw him beat two Top 10 players in No. 10 Richard Gasquet and No. 8 Tomas Berdych plus a Grand Slam champion in Cilic. He did not drop serve all tournament, becoming the first first-time winner to do so in a tour-level event in the Open Era.
The No. 41-ranked Kyrgios earned 250 Emirates ATP Ranking points and €106,175. He was contesting his second ATP World Tour final, having finished runner-up to Gasquet in the Estoril title match last year.
"I played my first final last year and was looking for my first title," said Kyrgios. "But I didn't really expect to win this title this week after having a couple of weeks off. But from the first round I started playing really well and just gained confidence as I kept winning matches."
Kyrgios had Cilic under pressure right from the start and converted his eighth break point for a 3-1 lead in the opener. The Canberra native then secured a second break in the seventh game before serving out the set to love.
The second set was a tighter affair. Cilic saved a break point in the third game and had the chance to take the match to a decider with a set point in the 10th game. But Kyrgios denied the Croat on his only break point of the match to level at 5-5. In the subsequent tie-break, Kyrgios earned the mini-break to lead 5/3 and closed out the match with his 17th ace of the contest after 85 minutes.
"I think I served really, really well again," said Kyrgios. "I was serving really well all week. I didn't get broken once. That was the main thing that was good. And I was able to put pressure on my opponents' serves a lot when I was going through my service games really quickly."
Kyrgios was playing just his second tournament of the season, having reached the third round of the Australian Open in January (l. to Berdych). He was forced to withdraw from Rotterdam last week due to an elbow injury.
The 27-year-old Cilic fell to a 14-10 finals record. It is the second time he has missed out in the Marseille final, having also finished runner-up in 2011 (l. to Soderling).
"I felt I was getting much closer in that second set," said Cilic. "Every game was becoming a little more intense. I felt also that he was becoming a bit more frustrated, which was good for me. I had a chance at the end of the second set to get the break, but he managed to play well.
"I think he played really, really well today. He served amazing. It was difficult also from the back of the court. I think he was returning well, making a lot of returns in the first set. I didn't adjust well enough on the balls that were coming back.
"But I'm really satisfied with the week. It's really good moving forward and it's important for me. Nick was playing high-level tennis in the end, but I wasn't playing too bad either and that's something good I can take from the match."