Cilic and Granollers in Croatia Open final
Marin Cilic of Croatia and Marcel Granollers of Spain will play in the Croatia Open final on Sunday.
Second-seeded Cilic defeated defending champion Alexandr Dolgopolov of Ukraine 7-5, 6-2, while Granollers upset top-seeded countryman Fernando Verdasco 6-2, 6-7 (5) in the semifinals on Saturday.
Cilic aims to become the first Croat since 1990 to win his home tournament, and Granollers seeks his fourth career title. Cilic has a 4-1 record against Granollers, who won their last clash in Valencia last year.
Cilic made a slow start as Dolgopolov broke twice and led 5-4.
But Cilic broke back amid a six-game winning streak which gave him a set and 3-0 lead.
Last year, Cilic lost to Dolgopolov in the Umag final.
“Dolgopolov is a really tough opponent, he proved that in the beginning of the first set,” he said. “But I knew I had to be patient, I knew it would stop.”
Granollers, “is really great,” Cilic said. “He knows exactly what should be done.”
“(The final) won’t be easy but I hope there will be a happy ending for me on Sunday.”
Fourth-seeded Granollers broke twice to win the first set against Verdasco. Verdasco reached 5-3 in the second but Granollers forced a tiebreaker. Verdasco, the 2008 Umag champion, carried momentum into the third set by breaking immediately but Granollers broke back and never lost a game to the end of the semifinal.
“Today I played against a very good player, Fernando is one of the best in the world,” Granollers said. “That makes me even happier, I am very pleased with the way I played today.”