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Rediff.com  » Sports » Tennis: Cilic sets up Djokovic final; Federer in Halle final

Tennis: Cilic sets up Djokovic final; Federer in Halle final

Last updated on: June 23, 2018 23:09 IST

Marin Cilic

IMAGE: Marin Cilic celebrates winning his semi-final match against Nick Kyrgios. Photograph: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

Top seed Marin Cilic ended Nick Kyrgios's entertaining run at the Fever-Tree Queen's Club championships with a 7-6(3), 7-6(4) victory on Saturday as he reached the final for the fourth time.

A high-level semi-final full of thundering serves boiled down to two tiebreaks in which the ice-cool Cilic proved the more composed player to set up a Sunday showdown with former world number one Novak Djokovic.

Unseeded Djokovic was given some trouble by Jeremy Chardy in the opening set but prevailed 7-6(5), 6-4 to take his record over the Frenchman to 11-0 and 26-0 in sets.

 

World number six Cilic was out-aced 16-11 but never gave Australian maverick Kyrgios a sniff of a service break.

"It's special to play here and I've played great tennis throughout the week and it's great to have another shot at the title," the 2012 Queen's champion said on a sunny centre court.

"Nick is serving so good and it was tough to get a look on the service returns. As expected a couple of points made the difference in the tiebreaks."

Kyrgios, ranked 21, had served 82 aces on his way to the semi-final and was in scintillating form against defending champion Feliciano Lopez on Friday.

He could not quite reach that level again but was still happy with his grasscourt form having lost narrowly to Roger Federer in the Stuttgart semis last week and beaten former Wimbledon champion Andy Murray for the first time at Queen's.

His serve was a potent weapon again and in the eighth game of the first set he bashed down three consecutive aces before playing one of his trademark 'tweeners' to level at 4-4.

Cilic, runner-up to Roger Federer at Wimbledon last year and this year's Australian Open, was relentless, however, and seized on a couple of Kyrgios groundstroke errors in the opening tiebreak to pocket the first set.

Kyrgios saved the only break points of the match, recovering from 15-40 at 2-2 in the second set.

As the set sped towards another tiebreaker, the pressure was beginning to tell on Kyrgios as he yelled "I can't focus".

Sure enough a Kyrgios double-fault at the start of the tiebreak gave the initiative to Cilic who quickly built a 6-3 lead and although he netted on his first match point he converted the second when Kyrgios skewed a backhand wide.

Wildcard Djokovic seemed agitated at times as Chardy, who has won 12 of 13 matches on grass over the past three weeks, proved a tricky opponent.

The Frenchman made several errors in the tiebreak though and was broken at 4-4 in the second -- the only break of serve in the day's two semi-finals -- before Djokovic sealed the win.

He has a 14-1 winning record over Cilic but might be second-favourite on Sunday with the Croatian in superb form.

"I will play with two racquets! One in the right hand and one in the left hand!" Djokovic said when asked how he would cope with the power of Cilic's serve.

Clinical Federer beats Kudla to set up Coric final in Halle

Roger Federer

IMAGE: Roger Federer plays a forehand. Photograph: Thomas Starke/Getty Images

Defending champion Roger Federer extended his unbeaten run on grass to 20 matches by defeating American qualifier Denis Kudla 7-6(1) 7-5 on Saturday, and set up a Halle Open final with young Croatian Borna Coric.

The pair exchanged early breaks in overcast conditions before top-seeded Federer stamped his authority by winning the tiebreak 7-1, ending Kudla's 10-set winning streak this week.

Playing his eighth match in less than two weeks, the 36-year-old Federer seemed clearly fatigued but showed great mental strength to save five break points in the second set.

A lapse of concentration from Kudla in the 11th game allowed Federer to grab the only break point on offer before the Swiss served out the match in just under an hour and a half.

"Denis has played an excellent tournament and made it difficult for me," Federer said. "So I am of course very glad to have made it."

Nine-time Halle champion Federer has reached his 12th final on German grass, and will next face 34th ranked Coric, who will make his first final appearance of the season.

The 21-year-old Coric, who defeated second seed Alexander Zverev earlier this week, advanced after playing just five games of his semi-final against Robert Bautista Agut.

The Spaniard was forced to retire after an unfortunate slip, with Coric serving at 2-3.

Federer, who must win a record-extending 10th title in Halle to remain at the top of the world rankings, holds a 2-0 head-to-head advantage over Coric.

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