Canada Flashback: Marin Cilic wins lone Masters 1000 crown over Andy Murray



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Canada Flashback: Marin Cilic wins lone Masters 1000 crown over Andy Murray

Five years ago, the entire field in Cincinnati had a massive opportunity to claim the Masters 1000 title, with no Roger Federer or Novak Djokovic in the draw. Rafael Nadal was there, but he could not do much, suffering the third-round exit to Borna Coric after a challenging week at the Rio Olympics a week earlier.

Marin Cilic and Andy Murray reached the title match, and the Croat went all the way, beating the Briton 6-4, 7-5 for his first Masters 1000 title. It was the 15th ATP title for Cilic and only the third since the US Open 2014, serving well and outplaying Murray with sharp and aggressive hitting.

Andy did enough to tame Milos Raonic's serve on the previous night, but 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 to keep the rallies on his racquet.

Marin Cilic defeated Andy Murray in straight sets in Cincinnati 2016.

Andy entered the match with a career-best 22-match winning streak, taking 11 of the previous 13 encounters against Cilic but still ending on the losing side for the first time since the Roland Garros final.

Unable to move the rival from the comfort zone, Murray grabbed eight winners and over 20 unforced mistakes, not enough for at least a set in the quest for the third Ohio crown. Marin became the first Masters 1000 champion born after Novak Djokovic and 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 thrice. There were three breaks in the opening set, and Marin claimed two to control the pace.

In his first couple of service games, Andy held at love before Cilic broke him twice in a row to forge a 5-2 advantage. In his last effort of the set, Andy responded with a break at 15 in game eight, as Marin brought it home in game ten for 6-4.

Cilic flew over the court in set number two, dropping only three points behind the initial shot against such an outstanding returner and waiting patiently for the opportunity on the return. It did not appear until game 11, though, 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 a very tough position before fending off all three break chances for a 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 game to finish the encounter in style and earn his first Masters 1000 crown.