Cilic takes another confident stride
Originally published on: 18/06/12 00:00
It’s fair to say that Marin Cilic didn’t win the AEGON Championships in the manner he had wanted. The 23-year-old Croat picked up his first title of the year at the Queen’s Club when David Nalbandian was defaulted after kicking an advertising board into the leg of a linesperson and drawing blood.
"I’m definitely very sorry to finish the tournament like this, especially in the final where we both I think played good tennis," admitted Cilic, who later added he was pleased with his form ahead of Wimbledon. “I’m feeling really good and I think my form is on the spot where it should be.”
Cool-headed in comparison to the fiery Argentine, Cilic increased his ATP title haul to seven after winning his first ever title on grass. The 6’6” right-hander has now claimed at least one tournament win every year since 2008, having won in New Haven that year, triumphed in Zagreb and Chennai in 2009 before defending both titles in 2010 and winning in St Petersburg in 2011.
Cilic, who missed the Australian Open with a knee injury, has gradually seen an improvement in his results since losing his opening two matches in 2012 – to Jarkko Nieminen in Delray Beach and to Nalbandian in Indian Wells. He played a challenger event in Dallas to get matches under his belt, before later reaching the Munich final in April, when he ultimately lost to Philipp Kohlschreiber.
A positive clay season saw him defeat world No.10 John Isner in Madrid, before beating 2003 French Open champion Juan Carlos Ferrero to reach the third round at Roland Garros.
After a confidence-rousing run at Queen’s Club, in which he beat Matthew Ebden, Lukas Rosol, Yen-Hsun Lu, and 2010 champion Sam Querrey before Nalbandian was defaulted at 7-6(3) 4-3, the world No.18 will hope for an improvement in his fortunes at Wimbledon. Though he made the fourth round at the prestigious event in 2008, Cilic has lost in the first round on his last two visits to the All England Club.
Last week, the Croat told tennishead that he had approached this year’s grass swing with extra caution and was moving “slowly like a ninja” on the surface after taking a tumble and injuring his ankle at the Queen’s Club last year.