Marin Cilic: Winning Stuttgart brings me joy and confidence

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Marin Cilic: Winning Stuttgart brings me joy and confidence

Croatian tennis star Marin Cilic didn't hide his happiness after winning the Mercedes Cup title in Stuttgart. Cilic, a former world No. 3, beat rising Canadian star Felix Auger-Aliassime 7-6 (2) 6-3 in the Stuttgart final.

Cilic captured his 19th ATP title and his first since Queen's 2018. “It was a very important win. I played two semi-finals and did not win a title since 2018, also on grass at Queen’s. Winning here brings out joy for me, good confidence and a good feeling,” Cilic said.

"I felt like I was playing good tennis in these last few weeks. Winning here is a great way for me to continue my form and it gives me a good sign for Queen’s and Wimbledon. It is a joy to win my first title with my family here for the first time at any tournament.

“Experience plays a big part, especially on grass. The conditions can be difficult, the court plays quite quick. I felt this was a good chance for me to give it my all, keep my intensity. Even though some games were up and others down, that was a big part of my victory today."

Cilic came up big in key moments

Cilic failed to convert any of his three break points in the opening game but also saved three break points in the following game. Cilic had three more break points in the fifth game but failed to convert.

After missing out on break chances in the fifth game, Cilic saved a break point in the sixth game. Cilic missed out on two more break point chances in the ninth game but broke Auger-Aliassime finally in the 11th game. After claiming the first break of the match, Cilic blew a set point in the 12th game as Auger-Aliassime broke back to force a tie-break.

The tie-break was a one-sided affair as Cilic dominated it to win a tight opener. In the second set, Cilic broke Auger-Aliassime in the eighth game and routinely served out for the match in the ninth game. Auger-Aliassime now has a 0-8 record in ATP finals.

“Today I am not facing a final, I am facing Marin Cilic, it is two different things. There has been times when I have not played my best then I felt I was not playing well, but this time around, I felt like it was close. But overall I think he was a better player overall," Auger-Aliassime said.