Croatia’s Marin Cilic defeated Japan’s Kei Nishikori in straight sets, 6-1 7-6 (5) to win the 2016 Basel Open and his 16th career title on the ATP tour. With Rafael Nadal ending his season due to injury, Cilic’s recent win will likely make the season finale in London later this month.
Only the top eight players will be playing in the ATP World Tour Finals, but with Nadal and Roger Federer struggling with injuries open slots are available in the season-ending tournament.
Marin Cilic cruised to the first set win against an uninspired Nishikori, who has already qualified for the London tournament held at the O2 Arena in the United Kingdom.
“I knew it was going to be important for me to start well. Obviously, it was a big match for me. Being in the final of a 500 tournament against someone like Kei, who has been playing good tennis during the week, I knew it was going to be important to have energy straight away. I was playing well in the first set, with my shotmaking and I was serving smart,” Cilic stated after the win.
If Cilic makes it to London, he’s likely playing against top players Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray and other five competitors for the season-ending crown. Others playing in London are Stan Wawrinka, Milos Raonic and Gael Monfils.
The ATP World Tour Finals is set for November 13 to 20, 2016.
Without Nadal and Federer, this is Cilic’s chance to prove he’s one of the elite players in tennis. Marin Cilic showed his top form two years ago when he won the 2014 US Open, his only Grand Slam title in his career.
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