AEGON CHAMPIONSHIPS 2012
Cilic Edges Querrey To Reach First Grass Final; Nalbandian Ends Dimitrov Campaign
by ATP Staff|
In extremely blustery conditions at The Queen’s Club on Saturday, sixth seed Marin Cilic reached the final of the AEGON Championships with a 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 victory over 2010 winner Sam Querrey. The Croatian saved 10 of the 13 break points he faced and won 70 per cent of points behind his first serve to claim victory in just under two hours.
The 23-year-old Cilic is through to the final at this ATP World Tour 250 grass-court tennis tournament for the first time in six visits. He is bidding to win his first title of the season after a runner-up showing in Munich (l. to Kohlschreiber) in May.
"[It was] very difficult, especially in that third game having to save eight or nine break points, and then struggling a little bit with the rhythm and with the nerves," said Cilic. "So it was a bit difficult with that, struggling, fighting actually with that throughout all the match. But managing in the end pretty good with it.
"Playing a final, [there is] more motivation, more everything," continued the Croatian. "Definitely a great week for me and great preparation for Wimbledon."
In the final, Cilic will face 2002 Wimbledon runner-up David Nalbandian of Argentina, who ended the campaign of 21-year-old Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov with a 6-4, 6-4 victory in 90 minutes. Both players struggled with the swirling wind, but the experienced Nalbandian countered losing his serve three times by converting five of his 12 break point opportunities to claim victory.
"[The] wind was terrible today," said Nalbandian. "I don't think we played a very nice match, but we tried our best. [It] was very difficult but happy to win. I'm very happy. I've played this tournament a few times, and I never reached the final. So happy to be tomorrow on court, and I hope to be ready and I hope the conditions are better, as well."
A day earlier, Nalbandian had come through two three-set matches to reach the semi-finals at The Queen’s Club for the second time in three visits. He takes a 4-1 career lead over Cilic into Sunday’s final.
Looking ahead to the clash with Nalbandian, Cilic commented, "You have to be really smart in the game, know how to put the ball away from him and put him in tough positions that he can't really control it."
The 30-year-old Nalbandian is looking to win his first ATP World Tour title in nearly two years, since lifting the trophy in Washington in August 2010 (d. Baghdatis). He is playing in his first grass-court final since losing out to Lleyton Hewitt in the 2002 Wimbledon title match.