Cilic wins Chennai Open for 2nd career ATP title

Updated: January 11, 2009, 11:06 AM ET
Associated Press

CHENNAI, India -- Third-seeded Marin Cilic of Croatia won his second ATP Tour title, defeating wild-card Somdev Devvarman of India 6-4, 7-6 (3) in the final of the Chennai Open on Sunday.

The 20-year-old Cilic struggled at times against the 202nd-ranked Devvarman but saved nine of 10 break points to hold off the home favorite, who was playing his first ATP final.

Cilic was serving for the match at 5-3 in the second set when Devvarman finally converted a break point, but the Croatian used his strong serve to dominate the tiebreaker. Cilic finished with nine aces, to Devvarman's one.

"It's great to start the year with a title win, I've been in training hard for the new season," Cilic said. "It wasn't my best show, but I played the crucial points well."

Devvarman had a number of chances to take control of the first set, going up 40-0 on Cilic's serve in the fifth game. The Croat recovered, however, and then saved two more break points in his next service game and got the decisive breakthrough in the 10th game, when Devvarman double-faulted on set point.

"Losing is not fun, not converting the break points wasn't my best move," Devvarman said. "Marin plays high-percentage tennis and produced a great game today. He came up with good shots even when under pressure."

Cilic took a 3-0 lead in the second before the Indian rallied to force the tiebreaker.

Cilic, a semifinalist here in 2008, won his first tour title at New Haven, Conn., last year.

The 23-year-old Devvarman won NCAA titles in 2007 and '08 at the University of Virginia. He was the first Indian to reach the final of the tournament, which began as the Indian Open in New Delhi in 1996 before moving to Chennai the following year.

Only three Indians have won ATP Tour titles -- Vijay Amritraj (16), Ramesh Krishnan (8) and Leander Paes (1). Paes was the last to win an ATP Tour title, at Newport in 1998.

Eric Butorac and Rajeev Ram of the United States won the doubles title with a 6-3, 6-4 victory in the final against Jean-Claude Scherrer and Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland.

Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

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