Feliciano Lopez won the Queen’s Club title in dramatic fashion as the Spaniard saved a match point before defeating Marin Cilic 4-6, 7-6 (7/2), 7-6 (10/8) on Sunday.
Trailing by a set to the big-serving Cilic, Lopez held his nerve in a gripping finale to beat the world No 7 and secure his first ATP title since Gstaad in July 2016.
It was a sweet moment for world No 32 Lopez, who held a championship point in the 2014 Queen’s final before losing in three sets to Grigor Dimitrov.
Lopez, 35, avenged that painful loss by beating Dimitrov in the semi-finals on Saturday and now he has his hands on the trophy at last.
It is Lopez’s third title on grass after winning Eastbourne in 2013 and 2014.
“Wow. I can’t believe I finally won this trophy. I’ve been waiting so long,” Lopez said.
“I thought until the end that I wouldn’t make it, but I was a little bit lucky and it went my way.
“It was so difficult to handle my nerves when I was serving for the match.”
Having reached the Stuttgart final last week before losing to Lucas Pouille, Lopez has now won nine of his 10 matches on grass this year, raising hopes of a strong run at Wimbledon next month.
“It’s hard to believe I’m playing my best tennis at 35, but yes I am,” he said.
“There’s no better situation than to go into Wimbledon after winning here.”
It was a frustrating defeat for former US Open champion Cilic, who came agonisingly close to adding a second Queen’s title to the one he won in 2012.
His blistering serve had been virtually unplayable over the last week and, in four matches en route to the final, he was broken just once.
Lopez couldn’t find a way to break him in the final, but the Spaniard came up trumps in the crucial tiebreaks.
Federer still rules in Halle
Swiss great Roger Federer thrashed Alexander Zverev to win his ninth title at the Wimbledon warm-up tournament in Halle on Sunday.
The top seed lost his first match of the grass-court season last week in Stuttgart to Tommy Haas, but was in imperious form all week at Halle, culminating in the 6-1, 6-3 final victory over the home favourite Zverev.
Federer will head into Wimbledon, which starts on July 3, as favourite to win an outright record eighth title.
Italian Open champion Zverev had won all three of his previous finals this season, but was blown away by a vintage performance from the 18-time major champion in only 53 minutes.
“I played great, I felt good from the start,” said Federer.
“It was by far my best match of the week. After my long break, I’m feeling excellent and it’s a pleasure to be back and I’m fit for Wimbledon.”
The 35-year-old, who skipped the entire clay-court season, has still only lost two matches this year en route to four titles, including the Australian Open in January.
“My goal was to keep myself 100 per cent for the grass season,” he added.
“I now hope that I’ll stay healthy in this second part of the season and we’ll see what happens.”
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