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Lopez beats Cilic in nail-biting Queen's Club final

Lopez beats Cilic in nail-biting Queen's Club final”

Marin Cilic avoided becoming the latest seeded player to depart early at Queen's by beating Stefan Kozlov 6-0, 6-4 Thursday and advancing to the quarterfinals at the Wimbledon warm-up event.

Lopez saved his match point with a steely volley at 5-6 in the breaker before Cilic fended off two.

With Wimbledon champion Andy Murray crashing out of Queen's in the first round, a result that continued the world number one's disappointing 2017, and Novak Djokovic in equally poor form, Cilic acknowledged there is good opportunity for someone outside the big four to take the trophy.

There were no breaks in the second set although Muller had to fend off two set points at 5-6, the first after turning around a rally Querrey had been in control of with a crafty lob and the second with an unreturnable serve.

'I played a lot of matches. In the first round, Muller came through in a tight match against the Georgian player, Nikoloz Basilishvili, in 3 sets.

"I'm not thinking about Wimbledon right now".

But in the third set Cilic rolled through his own service games and got the crucial break of serve in the seventh game.

Cilic, set to move to a career-high ranking of six, will now have the chance to win the title in more orthodox fashion than in 2012 when his opponent, Argentina's David Nalbandian, was defaulted for injuring the leg of a line judge when kicking out at a hoarding in anger. "I was playing really, really good throughout and Gilles was pushing me to the limit".

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"I don't think the win from seven years ago has any effect on how I play today or going forward". In 2014 he watched Grigor Dimitrov raise the trophy after saving a match point against him in the final.

The Croatian won 93 per cent of points on his first serve, driving Lopez into the backcourt.

Even Lopez couldn't break him and Cilic said: "Looking on the whole week, it was great tennis for me".

"It's a gift to be in this final again", the unseeded Lopez said after his victory.

It proved to be a momentary lapse, and Cilic converted his second match point when fired down a second-serve ace.

Cilic delivered more aces (22 to 19) but lost the momentum he had in the opening set.

Dimitrov closed out the set on the resumption to level the match but it was Lopez who finished the stronger into the evening as he opened up a 4-2 lead before securing victory in just over two hours on court when the sixth-seeded Bulgarian's return dropped long.

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