Delray Beach - Croatia's Marin Cilic defeated former champion Kevin Anderson
of South Africa in three sets on Sunday to win the ATP Delray Beach Open and
notch his second title in three weeks.
Cilic, seeded seventh, defeated fourth-seeded Anderson 7-6 (8/6), 6-7 (7/9),
6-4 to notch his ATP Tour leading 18th match victory of the year.
He added another title to the Zagreb trophy he claimed earlier this month.
He also reached the final in Rotterdam last week.
Cilic needed three hours and eight minutes to claim the victory, which was
especially sweet after Saturday's rain delay saw him start late and labour
until the early hours to beat second-seeded John Isner in the semi-finals.
"It feels awesome, especially after waiting for a long time last night
and finishing after 1 am," the 29th-ranked Cilic said. "Then, today
to come back and win it, I'm really happy with this victory."
Cilic needed seven match points to snatch the title, firing 16 aces and
benefiting from 12 double faults by Anderson. He converted four of his 14 break
points and saved 10 of the 13 faced.
After claiming the first set in a tie-break, Cilic was poised to raise the
trophy soon after.
However, he was broken while serving for the match at 5-3 in the second set,
and dropped his first match point when Anderson belted a backhand winner
cross-court a game later.
Anderson would fight back again in the ensuing tie-break, surviving a 4-1
deficit and three more match points to level the match at a set apiece.
After an early exchange of breaks in the third, Cilic gained the decisive
break of serve for 3-2 and went on to seal the victory with an ace.
"It wasn't easy for my nerves," Cilic said.
Anderson was vying to become the fourth player to win in Delray Beach on
multiple occasions, after his win in 2012.
"In the third, I just didn't put down the clamps of getting back in the
match and giving myself a chance," Anderson said. "He was going to
take one of his chances. He had a fair amount."