Cilic wins Swiss Indoors title, closes in on last World Tour Finals spot
Cilic, 28, triumphed in a repeat of the 2014 US Open final, where he also defeated Nishikori. Cilic currently holds the last of the qualifying spots for the World Tour Finals in London.tennis Updated: Oct 31, 2016 09:13 IST
Marin Cilic tightened his grip on the last qualifying spot in next month’s year-end ATP World Tour Finals with a dominant 6-1, 7-6 (5) defeat of Kei Nishikori to win the Swiss Indoors in Basel on Sunday.
The Croatian, 28, triumphed in a repeat of the 2014 US Open final, where he also defeated Asia’s best player.
Cilic, ranked 12th in the world, currently holds the last of the qualifying spots for the World Tour Finals in London but will face a battle next week in Paris in the final event of the regular season to keep the spot.
Eight players will take part in the London showpiece.
The Basel success was the second title of the season for Cilic after winning his first Masters 1000 title in August in Cincinnati, beating Andy Murray.
Cilic ended with a modest six aces against Nishikori, producing his last one at just the right moment to earn a pair of match points.
He put a forehand long on the first but claimed the match -- and the title -- when Nishikori hit a double-fault on the second.
“Well done for Kei, but tough luck today,” Cilic said. “It was a very close match. I played well.
“I had pressure all week fighting to qualify for London. But it was a great week for me, I played some good tennis.”
Cilic needed less than 30 minutes to take command by winning the opening set, but had to work during the second as Nishikori, the world number five, mounted a solid defence.
“Marin played great today,” said the Asian third seed. “I’ve been twice to the finals here and I hope I can come back and finally win it.”
Cilic’s victory marked his 16th career title from 27 finals.
Nishikori, on his way to London for the World Tour Finals for the third straight year, was playing his fifth final of the season but can boast only the Memphis title from February.