Two years after his US Open crown, Marin Cilic lifted his lone Masters 1000 trophy in Cincinnati 2016. Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic were not in the draw, and the door was open for their rivals to fight for the title. Cilic advanced to the title clash and met the former champion Andy Murray.
The Croat toppled the Briton 6-4, 7-5, lifting his first Masters 1000 crown. Cilic served well, outplaying Murray with sharp and aggressive hitting. Andy did enough to tame Milos Raonic's serve the previous night. However, he could not repeat that against Marin and impose his strokes in the exchanges.
Cilic produced mighty serve & forehand combos, hitting 24 winners and errors and keeping the rallies on his racquet. Andy entered the final with a career-best 22-match winning streak. Also, he took 11 of the previous 13 encounters against Cilic but still ended on the losing side for the first time since the Roland Garros final.
Marin Cilic defeated Andy Murray in straight sets in Cincinnati 2016.
Unable to move the rival from his comfort zone, Murray collected eight winners and over 20 unforced mistakes, not enough for at least a set in the quest for his third Ohio crown.
Marin became the first Masters 1000 champion born after Novak Djokovic. Also, he ended the 'big 4' streak at this level, as they claimed the previous 18 Masters 1000 events following Toronto 2014! The Croat claimed 82% of the points behind the first serve, offering Andy two break chances and giving serve away once.
Murray could not follow those numbers, playing against eight break chances and getting broken three times. There were three breaks in the opening set, and Marin claimed two to control the pace. Andy held at love in his first couple of service games before Marin broke two times in a row and forged a 5-2 advantage.
In his last effort of the set, Andy responded with a break at 15 in game eight before Marin brought it home in game ten for 6-4. Cilic flew over the court in set number two. He dropped only three points behind the initial shot against such an outstanding returner, waiting patiently for the opportunity on the return.
It only appeared in game 11, as Murray found a nice rhythm on his serve, unlike in the opener. Serving at 5-5, Andy lost the opening three points to find himself in an adamant position before fending off all three break chances for breathing space.
Marin refused to soften the pressure, creating another pair of break opportunities and seizing the fifth to move ahead and serve for the triumph. He embraced it with both hands, producing a love service gameat 6-5 to finish the encounter in style and earn his first Masters 1000 crown.
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