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Cilic claims title in Chennai

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Originally published on: 26/02/10 12:12

World number 202 Devvarman, 23, had already beaten world number 25 Ivo Karlovic and former world number one Carlos Moya en route to his first ATP Tour final, but third seed Cilic proved a step too far as the Croatian recorded a 6-4 7-6 (7/3) victory in two hours.

Devvarman was looking to become the first Indian to win an ATP Tour singles title since Leander Paes won in Newport in 1998 and had Cilic on the ropes several times in the first set.

But his inability to make the most of a host of break opportunities at 2-2 and then 3-3 proved costly as the Croat claimed the set with the decisive break of serve after the Indian double faulted in game 10 after 52 thrilling minutes.

Cilic, 20, grabbed an early break in the second set, but the first Indian player to reach the Chennai Open singles final broke the Croat as he served for the title at 5-3.

But Cilic’s experience and big serve helped him seal his second ATP Tour title after winning in New Haven in August. After a tight start to the contest Cilic fought back from 0-40 down to take a 3-2 lead before Devvarman, roared on by a passionate home crowd, levelled the contest at 3-3 with a straightforward hold.

Appearing at only his sixth ATP World Tour tournament, Devvarman had two more break points in game seven but Cilic responded with back-to-back forehand winners to hold on.

And after coming close to a break in game eight after having Devvarman in trouble at 0-30, the Indian double faulted on the first set point in his next service game to hand Cilic the first set.

Cilic roared into a 3-0 lead at the start of the second after converting the first of three break points on the Devvarman serve in game two. Serving for the match at 5-3 Cilic slipped 0-30 down and Devvarman finally converted his eighth break point opportunity.

But after surviving another two break points, Cilic opened up a 4-1 lead in the tie-break to eventually end Devvarman’s amazing run.

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