It’s been a long year for Novak Djokovic. The former No. 1 has had more downs than ups, but this week in Queen’s in back in his first ATP finals since winning Eastbourne last June.
The Serb has found his form on the grass having not lot a set all week including an impressive semifinal win today over the hot-handed Jeremy Chardy 7-6(5), 6-4.
“It is a special moment for me. Obviously I have been hoping to get here and working hard for it. So now that I get a chance to fight for a trophy in one of the biggest tournaments in the grass-court season, it means a lot to me,” Djokovic said. “I’m really pleased with the way I have played throughout the whole week.”
While Roger Federer is seeking his 99th career title, Djokovic is in his 99th career final, eyeing a 69th trophy.
In the final, Djokovic will face 2012 Queen’s champion Marin Cilic who stopped the run of Nick Kyrgios in two tiebreakers 7-6(3), 7-6(4).
“From before the match, I knew that Nick was going to be serving big,” said Cilic. “He served really big in his first three matches, especially his last two. He was serving more than 30 aces in a match and both of those matches were in two sets. I was expecting that it’s going to end up being either a point or two or even a wrong decision that can make a big difference. I was keeping myself really focused, really composed, patient.
“I felt that I was serving really good using all parts of the court really well. Even whatever was coming on my own end off the returns, I was being very focused and had to take care of those balls really well. That proved to be really good.
“I’m happy with the performance, especially as consistently to serve on that big level. It’s not easy and also when you know that you are under pressure to hold your serve most of the time. That’s another big plus. I’m really pleased with the mental approach to the game and also executing it really well.”
Cilic, though, has had little success against Djokovic, winning just one of 15 meetings.
“It’s quite different playing him on grass. We have played in Wimbledon, but he’s just a different player,” Djokovic said. “In the past couple of years he’s been in the form of his life and reaching his highest ranking in his career… he’s probably been playing the best that he’s ever played.
“I think the key will be obviously try to return well, because that’s his biggest weapon, his serve. He uses it so accurately on the grass. And obviously trying to get as many free points on my own serve [as I can],” Djokovic said. “It’s easier said than done, but I’m going into tomorrow’s final knowing that it’s going to be a really tough match for me, but a great challenge and I’m working for it.”
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