It ended up being the longest final in Queen’s Club history – but the crowds in Barons Court weren’t complaining!
Enthralled spectators cheered and whooped as Marin Cilic claimed victory over Novak Djokovic in a match lasting three minutes shy of three hours. The Croatian saved a match point and turned the tables on his illustrious opponent as the club in Palliser Road hosted a memorable tournament in energy-sapping heat.
It was a dream ending for Cilic, who had been pipped to the title last year. His win – 5-7, 7-6, 6-3 – represented a stunning comeback after wild-card entrant Djokovic had appeared poised for success with match point in the second set.
The 29-year-old powered through the deciding set to win his second Queen’s title at the Fever-Tree Championships on Sunday, leaving Djokovic – playing at the event for the first time in nearly a decade – in awe of his opponent’s skills.
“He deserved to win, and came up with some big shots,” said the 12-time Grand Slam champion. “It’s a tough loss, but I have to see the positives as I haven’t played a final in almost a year. I haven’t been here in eight years, but now I know how it feels I’ll keep coming back!”
Sell out crowd
With Wimbledon starting on July 2, Cilic is now on peak form. “It was a special win because last year I had a match point, and didn’t convert it,” he said.
Former No1 Djokovic had reached the final at Queen’s by beating Frenchman Jeremy Chardy in three sets. It was Djokovic’s 99th career final. Cilic’s route to the last day had included a semi-final victory over Australian Nick Kyrgios.
The Queen’s final – in front of a sell-out centre-court crowd after a handful of returns were released on the day for late-comers – was put back to 2.30pm, to allow football fans to watch England’s lunchtime World Cup trouncing of Panama on screens dotted around the bars at the west London club.
It was Cilic’s second final of 2018, having lost to world No1 Roger Federer at the Australian Open in January, and it capped a glorious week at Queen’s which included the club’s first wheelchair event.
Daniel Caverzaschi of Spain and Stefan Olsson of Sweden were beaten by French wheelchair pairing Stephane Houdet and Nicolas Peifer 6-3, 6-2, while in the inaugural wheelchair singles competition, Olsson pipped Houdet 6-1, 6-4.
In the men’s doubles, Henri Kontinen and John Peers beat Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares 6-4, 6-3.
Groundsman Graham Kimpton and his team ensured the courts were in top condition for a tournament which, down the years, has produced champions including John McEnroe, Andy Murray and Rafa Nadal.
Tournament director Stephen Farrow was delighted with the way the event had been staged, saying: “Massive congratulations to Marin Cilic,” he said. “We couldn’t have a nicer bloke as our champion!”
Play tennis in H&F
The Queen’s event will hopefully have inspired more H&F residents to try their hand at tennis on the new-look public courts at Ravenscourt Park, due to reopen at the end of the summer following resurfacing.
The council, in partnership with the Lawn Tennis Association, is revamping the playing surfaces, surrounding courts with secure fencing and introducing an easy-to-use online booking system called Clubspark.
Players register via a website which has details about the seven Ravenscourt Park courts, as well as the 29 other full-size courts and eight mini courts in South Park, Hurlingham Park, Normand Park, Bishops Park, Brook Green, Eel Brook Common and Hammersmith Park.
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