Marin Cilic successfully claimed his second title in three weeks, as he defeated Kevin Anderson in a gruelling three hour and eight minute battle to lift the Delray Beach trophy. The contest was the longest ATP World Tour match for either competitor and was a thrilling affair for the crowd in attendance.
The title win caps off an extraordinary three week span, that saw the Croat win the title in Zagreb, reach the final in Rotterdam as well as his title earlier today. He is now 18-4 in 2014 and looking to continue his rise up the ranks.
“It feels awesome, especially after waiting for a long time last night and finishing after 1am,” Cilic said. “Then, today to come back and win it, I’m really happy with this victory.”
It was far from an easy contest for Cilic, who needed seven match points to win the title, firing 16 aces and converting on four of 14 break points in the process. The Croat took the opening set in a tiebreaker, and was poised to win the match in straight sets, but Anderson had other plans, as he broke back down 3-5 and eventually snatched the second set in a tiebreak of his own to send the match to a decider. The two exchanged breaks in the third set before Cilic broke ahead to ultimately close of the match 6-4 in the third.
“It wasn’t easy for my nerves, for Goran’s nerves especially,” added Cilic. “In the final some nerves can get into your body and you have to deal with it in the end. Luckily I found a way.”
Cilic’s victory will see him rise to world No. 25 as of Monday. He also earned $81,500 in prize money and 250 points for his efforts.