Australian rising star and world number 41 Nick Kyrgios capped off a dream week in Marseille with a clinical performance against Marin Cilic in the final, not letting the Croat get into the match for a minute, winning 6-2, 7-6 to win his first career title. The Australian youngster did not drop a set all week to win the Open 13 in Marseille.
Kyrgios Races Through First Set
In the first game of the match, Kyrgios put immediate pressure on Cilic, creating three break chances, before Cilic dug himself out of the game to hold for 1-0. In the preceding game, the young Aussie held at love, racing through his service game to level the set at 1-1. With Cilic already having felt the pressure in his opening service game, Kyrgios applied it right back on, again creating this time four break chances, before finally converting on the fifth, putting him up an early break 2-1.
Both players held from there, each holding once to get to 3-2 with the Croat leading. In the next game, the flashy Australian held in lightning-fast Kyrgios fashion, holding to go up 4-2 in the opening set. The Aussie kept up his pressure on the Cilic serve, again breaking to go up 5-2, putting himself in position to serve for the set. Kyrgios took full advantage of the opportunity, holding at love to take the opening set 6-2.
Kyrgios Seals The Title In The Second Set
The second set was a much different deal than the second, with both players not dropping serve until the tiebreak. In the first game of the set, Cilic held for 1-0, looking to return to normal service patterns, the same ones that won him the 2014 US Open. Kyrgios then held to love, looking to keep his magnificent serving performance going. Both players each held serve in routine fashion three times each, bringing the set to 4-4.
In the ninth game of the set, the former US Open champion held serve fairly routinely, putting the pressure on Kyrgios to serve to stay in the set. At 5-5 with the young Aussie serving, Cilic created a set point to level the match, but Kyrgios held his nerve saving the set point and brining the set to 5-5. In the next game, Cilic raced through the game, holding to love, putting the pressure again back on Kyrgios to stay in the set. Kyrgios did just that, brining the set to 6-6 to a tiebreak.
The Croat began the tiebreak serving, putting down a bombshell to go up 1-0. The young Aussie then held his two service points to bring the breaker to 2-1 in favor of the Australian. Cilic and Kyrgios each held both of their service points, brining the tiebreak to 4-3 in favor of Kyrgios as the tiebreak reached the business end. At 4-3, Kyrgios played two spectacular return points, gaining two mini breaks to go up 6-3, and have a chance to serve out the title. Kyrgios made no mistake, serving out the title on his first chance, winning his first career title in dominant fashion, not dropping a set all tournament.
Kyrgios Discusses The Title
"I played my first final last year and was looking for my first title," said the young Aussie. "But I didn't really expect to win this title this week after having a couple of weeks off. But from the first round I started playing really well and just gained confidence as I kept winning matches."
Kyrgios discussed his monster serving performance all week, not getting broken once and only facing four break points all week.
"I think I served really, really well again," said Kyrgios. "I was serving really well all week. I didn't get broken once. That was the main thing that was good. And I was able to put pressure on my opponents' serves a lot when I was going through my service games really quickly."
Cilic Discusses His Finals Defeat
"I felt I was getting much closer in that second set," said the 2014 US Open champion. "Every game was becoming a little more intense. I felt also that he was becoming a bit more frustrated, which was good for me. I had a chance at the end of the second set to get the break, but he managed to play well."
"I think he played really, really well today. He served amazing. It was difficult also from the back of the court. I think he was returning well, making a lot of returns in the first set. I didn't adjust well enough on the balls that were coming back," added Cilic.
"But I'm really satisfied with the week. It's really good moving forward and it's important for me. Nick was playing high-level tennis in the end, but I wasn't playing too bad either and that's something good I can take from the match."
Kyrgios Behind The Numbers
After having lost in his only ever ATP final in Estoril last year, Kyrgios played a brilliant match to take his first ever tour level title. The big hitting Aussie blasted seventeen aces to only one double-fault, with his go-for-broke mentality clearly working for all to see. Kyrgios made 65 percent of first serves and won an incredible 95 percent of first serve points. A key stat in the match, Kyrgios won 60 percent of second serve points won compared to Cilic's low 39 percent. The young Aussie saved the only break point he faced in the match. Kyrgios' spectacular serving performance was clearly the reason he was able to claim his first ever ATP title, and with more performances like this, there will be many more to come for the Aussie.
Looking Ahead For Kyrgios
The young Aussie will be taking a much deserved break after an incredible performance this week in Marseille. Kyrgios will next play in the Davis Cup World Group first round for Australia against the USA in Brisbane in two weeks time. Kyrgios was announced on the team today by Australian Davis Cup captain and two time grand slam champion Lleyton Hewitt. Kyrgios will then play in the ATP Masters 1000 events in Indian Wells and Miami.