ATP

Cilic: Experience was key to claiming Stuttgart Open title

By Sports Desk June 13, 2021

Marin Cilic cited his experience as the key to sealing a first ATP Tour title in three years against Felix Auger-Aliassime at the Stuttgart Open on Sunday. 

The Croatian, who did not drop a set all week, hit seven aces on his way to a 7-6 (7-2) 6-3 win in one hour and 50 minutes. 

At 32, Cilic is the third-oldest Stuttgart champion in the Open Era (since April 1968) behind Roger Federer, 36, and Barry Phillips-Moore, 33.

It brought up his 19th ATP Tour title and he believes the knowledge he has amassed in his career was crucial to overcoming an opponent 12 years his junior. 

"Experience plays a big part, especially on grass," he said in quotes reported on the ATP website. 

"The conditions can be difficult; the court plays quite quickly. I felt this was a good chance for me to give it my all, keep my intensity. 

"Even though some games were up and others down, that was a big part of my victory today.

"It was a very important win. I played two semi-finals and did not win a title since 2018, also on grass at Queen’s. 

"Winning here brings out joy for me, good confidence and a good feeling.

"I felt like I was playing good tennis these last few weeks. Winning here is a great way for me to continue my form and it gives me a good sign for Queen's and Wimbledon. 

"It is a joy to win my first title with my family here for the first time at any tournament."

Auger-Aliassime, who has now lost all eight ATP Tour finals he has contested, had no complaints with the result. 

"Today, I am not facing a final, I am facing Marin Cilic; it is two different things," he said. 

"There have been times when I have not played my best then I felt I was not playing well, but this time around, I felt like it was close. 

"Overall, though, I think he was the better player."

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