ATP Stuttgart: Marin Cilic downs Felix Auger-Aliassime for first title in three years

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ATP Stuttgart: Marin Cilic downs Felix Auger-Aliassime for first title in three years

In 2018, Marin Cilic saved a match point to beat Novak Djokovic in a thrilling Queen's final and claim the 18th ATP title. Former Major champion couldn't repeat that feat for three years, struggling with injuries and the lack of form to stay away from the title matches and trophies.

Three years after Queen's, world no. 47 secured the 19th ATP crown and the second in a row in Stuttgart, beating all five rivals in straight sets to secure a much-needed triumph ahead of Wimbledon. In the final, Marin took down Felix Auger-Aliassime 7-6, 6-3 in an hour and 48 minutes, beating the Canadian for the third time in as many encounters and leaving the event with the trophy in his hands, the first witnessed by his little son.

Marin saved four out of five break points and secured two return games from ten opportunities, winning 19 points more than the youngster and sealing the deal with a strong performance in set number two. Thus, Felix has lost the eighth ATP final from as many he entered, still seeking the first ATP crown or winning a set in the title clashes!

The Canadian fended off three break chances in the very first game with booming serves to avoid an early setback before creating three break opportunities in the next one. Former Wimbledon champion erased those and created more chances at 2-2, eager to grab a break and move in front.

Marin Cilic claimed the 19th ATP title in Stuttgart over Felix Auger-Aliassime.

Felix stayed calm and endured all the challenges to bring it home and remain on the positive side. The Croat fended off a break point in game six with a service winner and could have moved in front at 4-4, with two break points up for grabs.

Auger-Aliassime repelled those before Cilic broke him at 15 in game 11 to move in front. Felix saved a set point on the return in the next one and scored a break with a deep return to introduce a tie break. The more experienced player grabbed all four points behind the initial shot and secured three mini-breaks for 7-2 after grueling 75 minutes.

Servers barely lost a point in their games in the second set's opening seven games, and Marin shifted into a higher gear in the last three games to grab 12 out of 13 points and cross the finish line. The Croat held at love in game seven for a 4-3 lead and broke the Canadian without losing a point a few minutes later to serve for the crown.

Showing no sign of nerves, Marin fired a booming serve at 40-15 in that ninth game to cross the finish line and earn the trophy, his first in three years.