Queen's 2018: Novak Djokovic to face Marin Cilic in final

June 23, 2018

Former world number one Novak Djokovic reached his first final for a year by beating Jeremy Chardy at the Fever-Tree Championships at Queen's in London.

 

The Serb, who was hampered by an elbow injury last year, won the semi-final against the Frenchman 7-6 (7-5) 6-4.

 

Djokovic looked skywards after sealing victory with a powerful forehand.

 

He will face top seed Marin Cilic in Sunday's final at the grass-court event after the Croat kept his cool to beat Nick Kyrgios 7-6 (7-3) 7-6 (7-4).

 

Djokovic's last appearance in a Tour final was at Eastbourne a year ago, where the 12-time Grand Slam champion went on to win the title.

 

He accepted a wildcard to this year's Queen's in an attempt to regain his best form before Wimbledon, which starts on 2 July.

 

Djokovic has not dropped a set at Queen's this week

The 31-year-old was playing in the tournament for the first time in 10 years, having lost to Rafael Nadal in the 2008 final.

 

Djokovic will fancy his chances of going one better against Cilic, with an impressive career record of 14 victories and just a solitary defeat against his fellow finalist.

 

"It was very pleasing to go through to the final," Djokovic said. "It's been a while since I've played for a title so it's a special moment considering what I have been through.

 

"It's a great occasion. I would lie if I say I wasn't ambitious coming into the tournament so I am hoping I can go all the way."

 

Djokovic showed flashes of his best tennis in his straight-sets win against French journeyman Chardy.

 

However, facing an opponent ranked 61st in the world, to whom he had never lost in 10 previous meetings, there were also occasional signs of frustration.

 

 

Despite closing out the first set in a tie-break, the 12-time Grand Slam winner vented his annoyance towards his support staff watching from the box.

 

There was also some tetchiness with the umpire when he lost a point after colliding with the net, having incorrectly believed the ball bounced twice before he made contact.

 

Djokovic lifted his game to claim a decisive break in the second set against the spirited Chardy, who played some eye-catching winners at the net but lacked the killer instinct to seriously trouble the Serb.

 

A match against the big-serving Cilic will provide a better barometer of Djokovic's credentials to make an impression on the grass courts of the All England Club when Wimbledon starts on 2 July.

 

When asked how he will cope with Cilic's serve in the final, Djokovic joked: "I will play with two racquets - one in the right hand and one in the left hand!"

 

Croatia's Cilic, who won the title here in 2012 and was runner-up to Feliciano Lopez last year, will compete in his fourth Queen's final.

 

While Australian Kyrgios entertained the crowd with his usual display of showman shots and colourful language, world number six Cilic kept his cool in a match featuring few long rallies between the two big servers.

 

After somewhat predictably going to two tie-breaks, the match was settled when Kyrgios sent a backhand return wide.

 

Marin Cilic sees off Nick Kyrgios - five best shots to reach Queens final

Cilic told BBC Sport: "It's so special to play here. I played great tennis throughout the week and have another shot at the title.

 

Cilic told BBC Sport: "It's so special to play here. I played great tennis throughout the week and have another shot at the title.

 

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"Nick is serving so good, so it was tough from both ends," added Cilic, who served 11 aces to Kyrgios' 16.

 

"It was tough to get any break points. I was maybe a bit more lucky in those situations and composed."

 

Cilic is through to his second final of 2018 after losing to world number one Roger Federer at the Australian Open in January.

 

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