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Cilic To Meet Austrian Melzer In Final

Vienna, Austria

Jurgen Melzer© Wr. Stadthalle / Bildagentur ZollesJurgen Melzer has a 1-6 record in ATP World Tour finals.

ATP World Tour No. 13 Marin Cilic scored a place in his fourth ATP World Tour final of the season after defeating fourth seed Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-4, 7-6(4) Saturday at the Bank Austria TennisTrophy, an ATP World Tour 250 tennis tournament in Vienna.

The top seed, a wild card entrant this week, was made to work hard for his victory as Kohlschreiber saved six of the eight break points he faced in the 98-minute match. With his two service breaks in the pair’s fifth meeting, Cilic reduced the deficit in their head-to-head to 2-3.

"Kohlschreiber is not an easy opponent," commented Cilic. "He was pretty good in the second set and he always gives a tough battle to everybody. I’m really pleased that I made it to the final."

Cilic is currently 12th in the year-to-date South African Airways 2009 ATP Rankings as he chases one of the two remaining singles berths at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals. However, the 21 year old is unable to add any points to his tally this week after victories at ATP World Tour 250 tournaments in Chennai (d. Devvarman) and Zagreb (d. Ancic). He also finished runner-up at the China Open in Beijing recently, losing out to Novak Djokovic and has compiled a 44-18 mark on his career-best season.

"I came here with the mind to play well and especially after the Beijing final then also the US Open quarter-final," said Cilic. "I’m really pleased I kept my form on a good level and that over here I played four very good matches."

The No. 24-ranked Kohlschreiber was contesting the Vienna semi-finals for the second year in a row, after falling to Gael Monfils in a third-set tie-break last year. The German was bidding to reach his second ATP World Tour final of the season, following a runner-up finish at the Open de Moselle (l. to Monfils) last month.

In the final Cilic will face seventh seed Jurgen Melzer, who became the first Austrian since 1995 to reach the final in Vienna after rallying from a set down to defeat Janko Tipsarevic 4-6, 7-6(5), 6-4.

Cilic has won all three of the pair’s previous meetings, including twice on hard court at the 2008 Australian Open and Pilot Pen Tennis later that year.

“I think it’s going to be a really good experience for me, playing a home player who is going to be carried by the home crowd," said Cilic. "Probably it’s going to be a little bit like Davis Cup. I’m just going to try and do well. The key thing would be that I serve well to get some free points and from there we’ll see. He might feel some pressure and if I get some chances I hope I’m going to take them."

"I think I’m just going to go out there and enjoy it," said Melzer. "Making the final at home is always something special and hopefully there’s going to be a lot of people here watching and cheering for me."

Melzer, who ousted second seed Radek Stepanek in Friday’s quarter-finals, fired 17 aces and saved three of four break points in the match that lasted two hours and 29 minutes. Victory for Melzer avenged the straight-sets defeat he suffered to Tipsarevic earlier this season at the Sony Ericsson Open.

"After winning the second set in a very close tie-break I felt like I had the momentum on my side and I was playing pretty well," assessed Melzer. "He started to miss a few balls and from that moment on, although he was serving first, after the break in the third I felt like that was it, I was going to reach the final."

World No. 35 Melzer, whose previous best effort at his home tournament was three quarter-final efforts in 2002, ’06 and ’08, is through to his first ATP World Tour final since finishing runner-up (l. to del Potro) on home soil in Kitzbuhel last year.

"It’s very tough to explain now [how I feel about reaching the final] but I think when I lie down tomorrow night in my bed I’m going to be pretty happy and proud of myself, with the way I played and the way I have presented myself in Austria," said Melzer. "It’s never easy to play at home, it’s a lot of pressure but I dealt with it really well this week and hopefully I can get the title."

The left-hander has a 1-6 record in ATP World Tour finals and is looking to become the first homegrown winner in Vienna since Horst Skoff triumphed in 1988. In his two previous efforts to win an ATP World Tour title in Austria, he finished runner-up in Kitzbuhel last year and in St. Poelten in 2005 (l. to Davydenko).

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