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Berdych Ends Drought With Rotterdam Title

Rotterdam, The Netherlands

Tomas Berdych ended his ATP World Tour title drought on Sunday, blasting past Marin Cilic 6-4, 6-2 in the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament final in Rotterdam. The World No. 7 hoisted his first trophy in 16 months, having fallen in all three finals he contested in 2013.

It was Berdych’s ninth tour-level crown in his 20th final outing. Despite reaching the quarter-finals or better in 15 of his 23 tournaments last season, the Czech was the only player in the Top 10 not to win a title. His last tournament victory came in Stockholm at the end of 2012, when he upended Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. He becomes the first Czech to win in Rotterdam since Radek Stepanek in 2006.

"It feels absolutely amazing," Berdych said. "It's been a while, actually 16 months since I won a title. To win a title in Rotterdam it's a nice bonus. I'm extremely happy with the way I handled it throughout the week. I've been serving pretty well, which has been the strong part of my game."

The 28 year old’s resiliency was on display from the start, saving a trio of break points in the second game of the match and immediately pouncing on Cilic’s serve for an early break of his own.

Berdych would not face another break point from then on, hammering nine aces and winning an impressive 76 per cent of service points. He fired 20 winners and benefitted from 22 unforced errors by Cilic to claim the victory in 75 minutes.

Watch Player Interviews: Berdych | Cilic

Berdych extends his FedEx ATP Head2Head advantage over Cilic to 5-2 overall and 3-1 on hard courts. Their lone meeting last year came at Queen’s Club in London, with the Croat prevailing in straight sets in the quarter-finals.

Looking ahead, Berdych stressed the importance of remaining confident and focusing on the task at hand. "Now it's important to keep good plans and a good schedule, keep it in good shape and good form. This is a great start for me."

Cilic, who improves to 14-4 on the season, dropped to 10-9 in ATP World Tour title matches, just a week removed from claiming his fourth title in Zagreb (d. Haas). He is tied for second with former World No. 3 Ivan Ljubicic for most titles won by a Croatian in the Open Era. Cilic’s coach, Goran Ivanisevic, won 22 pieces of silverware.

"It was a tough one today," said Cilic. "What made the difference in the end was that Tomas served really well...Overall I think the tournament was great. I played great tennis and enjoyed it here. I had a great run of nine [straight] wins and I hope to make that run soon again."

Berdych takes home $330,750 and 500 Emirates ATP Ranking points and ascends to No. 6 in the world. Cilic garners $149,135 and 300 Emirates ATP Ranking points. The Croat will re-enter the Top 30, rising eight spots.

Cilic will look to maintain his strong form at the Delray Beach Open by The Venetian Las Vegas this week, while Berdych is the defending runner-up at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, beginning 24 February.

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