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Cilic Wins Seventh ATP World Tour Title

London, U.K.

Cilic© Getty ImagesMarin Cilic won his seventh ATP World Tour title.

World No. 25 Marin Cilic won his seventh ATP World Tour title on Sunday at the AEGON Championships capping a strong return from injury.

The 23-year-old Cilic was sidelined for the first seven weeks of the year due to a knee injury, but has come back strongly to compile a 15-9 match record. The Croatian was a finalist at the BMW Open in Munich in May (l. to Kohlschreiber) and two weeks ago reached the third round at Roland Garros (l. to del Potro).

"I played good today and came here to play four, five matches," said Cilic "I won them and pretty comfortably in those first two or three. I’m feeling really good and I think my form is on the spot where it should be."

The Queen’s Club trophy marks Cilic’s first grass-court title and first piece of silverware since triumphing at the St. Petersburg Open (d. Tipsarevic) last October. He had only dropped one set en route to the final of this ATP World Tour 250 grass-court tournament, needing three sets to defeat Sam Querrey in Saturday’s semi-finals.

The final ended in unusual circumstances, resulting in the default of Argentine David Nalbandian. With the score at 6-7(3), 3-3, Nalbandian was stretched wide to the forehand side. After seeing that his forehand had landed wide, resulting in a break of serve for Cilic to lead 4-3, Nalbandian kicked the front of a three-sided sponsor’s advertising board, which surrounds the linesman’s chair. The front board struck the linesman’s left leg, leaving his shin bloodied.

After consulting with umpire Fergus Murphy, tournament supervisor Tom Barnes awarded the match to Cilic by default due to unsportsmanlike conduct from Nalbandian.

ATP Supervisor Tom Barnes spoke to the media after the match and confirmed the reason for the default. "It's [for] unsportsmanlike conduct, and the supervisor has the authority to declare an immediate default. Once I saw the injury [it] was not a judgment call. I didn't have any other option."

Barnes confirmed that Nalbandian would forfeit all rankings points and prize money earned at the tournament.

Brad Drewett, ATP Executive Chairman and President, said: "It’s an unfortunate situation for everyone involved, the spectators, the tournament, the sponsors, the players and the linesman. David certainly did not mean for this to happen, however the rules are very clear in a situation like this and causing injury to someone is an automatic default for any player."

"I made a mistake and I apologise," said Nalbandian. "I feel very sorry to the guy. I didn't want to do that. This is a bad situation for everybody that I really apologise for."

"I’m definitely very sorry to finish the tournament like this, especially in the final where we both I think played good tennis," said Cilic. "He was playing also some great rallies and in those last two games it was extremely interesting with making two breaks one of each side. So I think it was good tennis today."

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© Neven Gerencir

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