ATP Tel Aviv: Novak Djokovic tops Marin Cilic and wins title

Tennis - Djokovic stands three ATP titles behind Rafael Nadal

by Jovica Ilic
ATP Tel Aviv: Novak Djokovic tops Marin Cilic and wins title

Competing in Israel for the first time since 2006, Novak Djokovic claimed his 89th ATP title in Tel Aviv. Novak lifted his third trophy of the season and added ATP points to his tally ahead of more serious obstacles in Astana.

Novak defeated Marin Cilic in the title clash, beating the Croat 6-3, 6-4 in an hour and 34 minutes and continued where he left at Wimbledon in July. Djokovic won 13 points more than Cilic, barely losing a point behind the first serve and fending off a lone break point he faced.

Marin fired 13 aces but could not follow Novak's pace, playing against six break points and losing serve once in each set to settle with the runner-up prize. The Serb built the advantage in the mid-range and most extended rallies and ousted his opponent in the shortest ones to secure his 19th win over Marin from 21 encounters.

Novak Djokovic conquered the title in Tel Aviv.

Djokovic fired an ace in the first game and created a break chance in the next one after Cilic's double fault. Marin saved it with a service winner before hitting another double fault for the second break point.

The Croat erased it with a powerful serve and landed another to bring the game home and avoid an early setback. Novak grabbed the third game with a forehand winner and secured a break in the next one when Marin sprayed a forehand error.

Djokovic blasted a service winner a few minutes later to confirm the lead and repeated that at 4-2 to remain in front. Novak served for the set at 5-3 and wrapped it up with a service winner after 46 minutes. Djokovic broke at 15 in the second set's opening game to forge a massive advantage and move closer to the finish line.

The Serb cracked a backhand down the line winner to secure the second game and an ace at 2-1 to maintain the lead. Cilic hit a double fault in the fifth game to face a break point before saving it and remaining within one break deficit.

It was Novak's turn for a double fault in the next one, offering Marin a break chance and denying it with an ace. Djokovic closed the game with a service winner, and Cilic followed the rival's pace with a hold at love for 3-4.

Novak landed a service winner in game eight to move closer to the finish line and sealed the deal with a service winner at 5-4 to celebrate the title.

Novak Djokovic Marin Cilic Rafael Nadal