Croatia’s Marin Cilic narrowly defeated Australian Nick Kyrgios 7-6 (7-3), 7-6 (7-4) in Saturday’s semi-finals of the Queen’s Club Championships and will square off against Novak Djokovic for the title.
The sixth-ranked Cilic will be seeking his second title at this Wimbledon tune-up event, while the 22nd-ranked Djokovic will be trying to win his first in four attempts.
It will be the second final of the season for the Croatian, the 2012 champion, who was runner-up at this year’s Australian Open to Swiss great Roger Federer.
Cilic withstood 16 aces from Kyrgios, who had served double that number in both his second-round and quarter-final victories Thursday and Friday, respectively, over UK’s Kyle Edmund and Spain’s Feliciano Lopez.
The Croatian, however, was even more effective than the Australian on serve on Saturday, not facing a single break point throughout the one-hour, 26-minute match and losing just 12 points on serve the entire match.
He created two break-point chances against Kyrgios’ serve but was not able to convert either one.
Both players were especially impressive on the second serve, with Cilic winning 70 per cent of those points and Kyrgios 68 per cent.
“From before the match, I knew that Nick was going to be serving big,” Cilic was quoted as saying on the ATP World Tour’s Web site.
“He served really big in his first three matches, especially his last two. He was serving more than 30 aces in a match. I was expecting that it’s going to end up being either a point or two or even a wrong decision that can make a big difference. I was keeping myself really focused, really composed, patient.”
In the second semi-final, Djokovic continued his strong recent run of form to defeat Frenchman Jeremy Chardy 7-6 (7-5), 6-4.
Sunday’s final will be the Serbian 12-time Grand Slam champion’s first since last year’s Eastbourne event, also a Wimbledon tune-up.