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Cilic Closes On Sixth Title; Dolgopolov Ousts Ferrero

Umag, Croatia

Dolgopolov© ATP Studena Croatia OpenAlexandr Dolgopolov reached his second ATP World Tour final.

Fourth seed Marin Cilic became the first homegrown player to reach the final of the ATP Studena Croatia Open since its first edition in 1990, after he defeated sixth seed Fabio Fognini 6-2, 6-2 in Saturday’s semi-finals.

The top Croat broke serve five times from eight opportunities and won 76 per cent of points behind his first serve as he claimed victory in 73 minutes. He will now attempt to become the second Croatian winner in Umag, adding to Goran Prpic’s victory in 1990.

"I tried to play aggressively in certain moments when I could, and I think I played the right way," assessed Cilic. "All in all I’m really pleased with the match and that it didn’t go too long. It would be a big thing for me [if I could win the title], because I haven’t won a title in over a year.

"Last week (in Hamburg) I played really good and this week I’ve played really good, that fills me up with a lot of confidence. Even if I don’t win it, I’m still going to feel good about it. I’ll give 100 per cent in the final tomorrow and we’ll see how it ends."

The 22-year-old Cilic is through to his second ATP World Tour final of the season, having finished runner-up to Robin Soderling in Marseille in February. Two of the right-hander’s five ATP World Tour titles have come on home soil, with back-to-back victories at the PBZ Zagreb Indoors in 2009 (d. Ancic) and 2010 (d. Berrer); he has never won a clay-court title.

In the final Cilic will face second seed Alexandr Dolgopolov, who dismissed defending champion Juan Carlos Ferrero 6-4, 6-4. The Ukrainian converted three of his 10 break point opportunities and won 86 per cent of points on his first serve to prevail in 85 minutes.

"I played pretty well and did the right things," reflected Dolgopolov. "I managed to break up his rhythm and not play long points, so I’m happy with the way I played. I had lost four matches in a row in my last tournaments, so I was pretty nervous [at the start of the week], but I’ve been playing better and better and I’m happy with my game.

"I think it’s going to be a tough match [against Cilic]," he added. "He serves well and plays steady on the court. I will try to make winners and go in a bit, hit drop shots, try to break up the game a bit."

World No. 26 Dolgopolov has made a significant stride up the South African Airways 2011 ATP Rankings this season, having started ranked No. 48, and will contest his second ATP World Tour final. In February, he finished runner-up to Nicolas Almagro on clay in the Costa do Sauipe title match, shortly after reaching the Australian Open quarter-finals (l. to Murray).

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