London - Novak Djokovic ended his final drought as the former world number one
reached his first title match for a year with a 7-6 (7/5), 6-4 win
against Jeremy Chardy at Queen's Club on Saturday.
play top seed Marin Cilic on Sunday in the Serb's first final since he
won the grass-court tournament at Eastbourne 12 months ago.
will be Djokovic's first appearance in the Queen's title match since he
was beaten by Rafael Nadal in his only previous final at the Wimbledon
warm-up event in 2008.
The 31-year-old's 99th career final offers
him the chance to move above Stefan Edberg into sole possession of ninth
place in the all-time match wins list on 802.
"It was very
pleasing to go through to the final. It's been a while since I've played
for a title so it's a special moment considering what I have been
through," Djokovic said.
"It's a great occasion. I would lie if I say I wasn't ambitious coming into the tournament so I'm hoping I can go all the way."
how he would cope with Cilic's power serves, Djokovic joked: "I will
play with two racquets! One in the right hand and one in the left hand!"
such a turbulent period since he was forced to withdraw from Wimbledon
with an elbow injury last year, Djokovic may be rounding into form just
in time for his return to the All England Club.
Djokovic is a
lowly 22nd in the ATP rankings after an embarrassing French Open
quarter-final defeat against Italian journeyman Marco Cecchinato
extended his wretched run in 2018.
He hasn't earned a major title since competing his career Grand Slam by winning the 2016 French Open.
by rumours that he no longer has the motivation to return to the top,
the 12-time Grand Slam winner decided to start his bid for a fourth
Wimbledon crown by accepting a Queen's wild card.
It has proved a
wise move as success on the lawns of Barons Court has often been a
springboard for a strong Wimbledon campaign for Andy Murray.
after recording four successive wins at Queen's, Djokovic will hope he
can copy his rival's trend when Wimbledon gets underway on July 2.
had won 12 of his previous 13 matches, but that purple patch inevitably
came to an end as soon as the world number 61 was confronted by his
Djokovic had won all 10 of their encounters without dropping a single one of their 24 sets.
his domination of Chardy, Djokovic set up another so far one-sided
match-up against Cilic, who has lost 14 of their 15 meetings.
slugged his way into a fourth Queen's final as the Croatian won the
battle of the big servers with a 7-6 (7/3), 7-6 (7/4) victory over Nick
Cilic, 29, is bidding to win Queen's for the second time
after lifting the trophy in 2012 and finishing as runner-up in 2013 and
It will be Cilic's second final of 2018 following his defeat against Roger Federer at the Australian Open in January.
world number six, who was also beaten by Federer in last year's
Wimbledon final, lost the ace race against Kyrgios, with the Australian
hitting 16 to Cilic's 11.
But former US Open champion Cilic held his nerve in two tie-breaks and punished a handful of key errors from Kyrgios.
"It's so special to play here. I've played great tennis throughout this week and have another shot at the title," Cilic said.
"Nick is serving so good so it was tough to get any break points. I was maybe a bit more lucky in those situations and composed.
"I'll be ready for the final, I'm definitely going to give my best for a trophy."
Results at the ATP Queen's tournament in London on Saturday (x indicates seed):
Marin Cilic (CRO x1) bt Nick Kyrgios (AUS) 7-6 (7/3), 7-6 (7/4)
Novak Djokovic (SRB) bt Jeremy Chardy (FRA) 7-6 (7/5), 6-4