World number 6 and 2012 champion Marin Cilic has added the second Queen's trophy to his collection, prevailing against 2008 finalist Novak Djokovic 5-7 7-6 6-3 in two hours and 57 minutes for his 18th ATP title and the first since Istanbul last year.
Marin saved a match point in the 10th game of the second set on own serve and he came from a 4-1 down in the tie break to prolong the match and bring it home with a single break in the deciding set. This was their 16th meeting and the second straight win for Marin after Paris 2016, losing the first 14 encounters against the great rival who was competing in his first ATP final since Eastbourne last year.
After struggling in the first four months of the season due to a long break he was forced to take last year, Djokovic has found his form in Rome, Paris and here in London, heading to Wimbledon as one of the favorites together with Roger Federer and today's rival.
Marin served at only 48% but he drew the most from it, firing 18 aces and saving five out of six break points to keep the pressure on Novak. Djokovic landed 74% of the first serve in and just like during the entire week his initial shot worked really well, repelling seven out of eight break points but losing the match due to that one late break he suffered.
In addition, following those five break points he saved in the seventh game of the opening set, Novak rattled off 11 good holds but Cilic was there to respond and stay in touch until that crucial eight game of the deciding set.
Thanks to his serve and forehand, Marin had 61 winners with just 39 unforced errors while Novak stood on a 42-26 ratio, that was almost good enough to secure the title for him in this excellent final. The Croat was the better player in the opening eight games, finding the zone behind his initial shot and creating a break point in game three that Novak saved when Marin's backhand hit the net.
The Serb was under even bigger pressure in game seven when he had to play against five break points, saving them all to stay in touch with Cilic after three service winners and two mistakes from his rival. Four good holds later it was Marin who served to stay in the set at 5-6 and he struggled in his game for the first time, allowing Novak to break him on the third chance and take the opener 7-5 after 67 minutes.
Carried by this momentum, Djokovic sailed through his service games in set number two, winning 24 out of 28 points before the tie break and waiting for any chance on the return that would carry him over the finish line. Marin saved two break points in game two and he faced an ultimate challenger at 4-5 when he gave Novak a match point.
It was another great serve that kept Marin in the match, blasting two more service winners to level the score at 5-5, never facing a break point by the end of the match. Novak opened a 4-1 lead in the tie break but Cilic stayed in touch with two winners, reducing the deficit and taking the next two points on Novak's serve after a double fault from the Serb and his forehand that forced the error from Djokovic.
Another powerful forehand earned the set point for Marin and he finished the set with a forehand winner, taking the last six points to stay in the title hunt. Novak lost his momentum on the return after wasting that match point and he squandered a game point in the eight game of the deciding set to lose serve when his backhand found the net.
Serving for his second Queen's title, Cilic blasted four service winners in game nine to start a huge celebration and lift the first trophy in 14 months, heading to Wimbledon in the finest possible spirit and standing as one of the title contenders after playing in the final 12 months ago. Final result: