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Cilic survives Kyrgios barrage to reach Queen’s final

Croatia's Marin Cilic celebrates winning the match point against Australia's Nick Kyrgios during the semifinal at the Queen's Club tennis tournament in London, on Saturday. - AP/ PTI
 LONDON, June 23: Marin Cilic powered into his fourth Queen’s Club final as the Croatian won the battle of the big servers with a 7-6 (7/3), 7-6 (7/4) victory over Nick Kyrgios on Saturday.

Cilic is bidding to win the Wimbledon warm-up event for the second time after lifting the trophy in 2012 and finishing as runner-up in 2013 and 2017.

It will be Cilic’s second final of 2018 following his defeat against Roger Federer at the Australian Open in January.

The world number six, who was also beaten by Federer in last year’s Wimbledon final, lost the ace race against Kyrgios, with the Australian hitting 16 to Cilic’s 11. But Cilic held his nerve in two tie-breaks and punished a handful of key errors from Kyrgios.

Cilic will face former world number one Novak Djokovic or France’s Jeremy Chardy in Sunday’s final.

“It’s so special to play here. I’ve played great tennis throughout this week and have another shot at the title,” Cilic said.

“Nick is serving so good so it was tough to get any break points. I was maybe a bit more lucky in those situations and composed.

“I’ll be ready for the final, I’m definitely going to give my best for a trophy.” As expected, the semifinal was tense and tight with serve holding sway.

Former US Open champion Cilic had held serve in 33 of his 34 games going into the last four, while Kyrgios exited the tournament with 98 aces.

This week, Kyrgios had become the first player to hit over 30 aces in successive matches since Ivan Ljubicic in 2007. – AFP

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