ATP

Cilic rallies to win 20th Tour-level title in St Petersburg

By Sports Desk October 31, 2021

Marin Cilic won his 20th title on the ATP Tour by battling past Taylor Fritz in the final of the St Petersburg Open on Sunday.

A decade on from lifting the trophy for the first time, Cilic outlasted his American opponent 7-6 (7-3) 4-6 6-4 in a gruelling contest lasting two hours and 23 minutes.

It took the Croatian to four tournament wins on Russian soil, the 33-year-old having also twice won the crown in Moscow, while it also saw him join truly elite company in the men's game.

Only five other active male players have won 20 or more titles: Roger Federer (103), Rafael Nadal (88), Novak Djokovic (85), Andy Murray (46) and Juan Martin del Potro (22).

"Coming 10 years after winning in 2011 and also winning now, it's so, so special for me, especially this part of my career," said Cilic. "Having now a family, two sons, I want to absolutely dedicate this trophy to my newborn son."

Cilic had the chance to reach 20 titles last week in Moscow, only to lose in straight sets to home favourite Aslan Karatsev.

With 12 aces and 78 per cent of first-serve points won, the former world number three was aggressive in his efforts to make sure this was not another missed opportunity.

After taking the first set, Cilic twice led by a break in the second but allowed Fritz to level the contest and keep alive his hopes of a first title since Eastbourne two years ago.

Fritz went a break ahead in the decider but Cilic battled back to level at 4-4. A double fault from the world number 28 gave Cilic the chance to serve out the contest, and he duly obliged, converting his first match point with a volley.

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    WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS
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    Auger-Aliassime – 64/75

    ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS
    Medvedev  – 15/9
    Auger-Aliassime – 18/4

    BREAK POINTS WON
    Medvedev  – 3/5
    Auger-Aliassime – 2/11

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