London - Andy Murray moved a step closer to a record fifth Queen's Club title
as the defending champion battled into the final with a 6-3, 4-6, 6-3
victory over Marin Cilic on Saturday.
Murray was pushed hard by
Cilic but eventually subdued the Croatian in a tense two-hour semi-final
and will face Milos Raonic for the trophy on Sunday after the Canadian
third seed defeated Australia's Bernard Tomic 6-4, 6-4.
29-year-old Scot's primary aim is to hone his grass-court game with
Wimbledon starting in just over a week, but he would also relish passing
John McEnroe, Andy Roddick, Lleyton Hewitt, Roy Emerson and Boris
Becker as the sole owner of the most Queen's crowns.
been many great players over the years who have played here so if I can
do better than them and win a fifth title, then it is a good sign, but
I'm certainly not taking anything for granted," Murray said.
his fifth final of the year will be hugely encouraging for Murray in
the week he reunited with coach Ivan Lendl, two years after they
originally parted ways.
The two-time Grand Slam champion looks to
have got his painful French Open final loss to Novak Djokovic out of his
system as he prepares for his latest attempt to emulate his historic
2013 Wimbledon triumph.
"Marin plays extremely well on the grass so I knew I had to play really well. There were some really good points," Murray said.
"In the third set the intensity got raised and I played some good shots at the end.
"Hopefully I can serve like that again in the final. It's so important on this surface."
playing British opponents in the previous two rounds, Murray had been
looking forward to enjoying the complete backing of the crowd once again
and he didn't take long to get them cheering.
He landed the first blow with a powerful crosscourt forehand that left Cilic reeling and secured a break in the third game.
had won 10 of his previous 12 meetings with Cilic, including a tight
three-setter in the 2013 Queen's final that ended the 2012 champion's
bid to retain the title.
And, playing with far more urgency and
swagger than in his last outing against Kyle Edmund, Murray was on
course to extend his dominance over the world number 13 as he broke
again to clinch the first set in ruthless fashion.
Yet Murray had
spoken admiringly of Cilic's game during the week, so he couldn't have
been surprised to be punished when his levels dipped in the second set.
dropping the second set against Edmund on Friday, Murray had responded
with a blistering surge to the finish line and he repeated the trick
against Cilic -- showing his tremendous reserves of spirit and stamina
to secure the crucial break in the second game of a gripping final set.
was less drama in the second semi-final as world number nine Raonic
took just 62 minutes to see off Tomic, booking his first Queen's final
appearance and his third ATP Tour final of the year.
25-year-old hit 12 aces and, with his serve working so well, needed only
one break in each set to end Tomic's bid for a first Queen's final.
Wimbledon semi-finalist Raonic will take on Murray hoping to win his
first ever grass-court title and his second ATP title of 2016 after his
victory in Brisbane in January.
Results from the sixth day of the grass-court tournament at Queen's Club on Saturday (x denotes seeding):
Andy Murray (GBR x1) bt Marin Cilic (CRO x5) 6-3, 4-6, 6-3
Milos Raonic (CAN x3) bt Bernard Tomic (AUS) 6-4, 6-4