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Cilic to meet Lopez in Queen’s final – report & highlights

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Queen’s 2017: Five great shots as Lopez beats Dimitrov

Spain’s Feliciano Lopez saw off former champion Grigor Dimitrov to set up an Aegon Championships final against Croatian fourth seed Marin Cilic.

Unseeded Lopez beat Bulgarian sixth seed Dimitrov 7-5 3-6 6-2 in the second semi-final at Queen’s Club in London.

Cilic, the 2012 champion, earlier beat Luxembourg’s Gilles Muller 6-3 5-7 6-4.

Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares were trailing Cilic and Marcin Matkowski 1-6 5-3 in the doubles semi-finals when play was suspended because of rain.

Cilic, aiming to become the first man since Pete Sampras in 1995 to win both the singles and doubles titles, faces playing three matches on Sunday.

The singles final at 14:00 BST will be followed by the conclusion of the doubles semi-final, and then the doubles final.

Lopez earns another final chance

Rain affected play for the first time at Queen’s Club this week, with the first semi-final delayed briefly and the second then interrupted by 45 minutes in the second set.

Lopez, 35, led by a set at that stage and went on to gain some measure of revenge for his heartbreaking defeat by Dimitrov in the 2014 final by seeing out a three-set win.

The Spaniard, who held a match point in the final three years ago, grabbed the only break of the opening set when he forced an error from Dimitrov at 6-5.

An early chance to take command of the second set disappeared with a wayward backhand, and it was Dimitrov who was pushing for the break when the rain arrived.

Lopez, possibly feeling the effects of a long match against Czech seventh seed Tomas Berdych the previous evening, was under pressure as his first-serve percentage slipped to 51%.

A rasping backhand winner helped Dimitrov break and he rattled through three of four games to level at one set all.

Lopez dominated the final set, however, missing out on six break points in a 10-minute game at 2-1 before finally converting his eighth chance for a decisive 4-2 lead.

“I’m so happy to be in the final here at one of the most special tournaments for me,” said Lopez, the world number 32.

“I’ve wanted to win this tournament so much for my whole career and tomorrow I have another chance. I feel very pleased.”

Return joins serve as key for Cilic

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Queen’s 2017: Five best shots as Marin Cilic beats Muller

Cilic, 28, proved the better returner as he saw off 34-year-old Muller in a battle of the big servers to reach his third Queen’s Club final.

Both men saw their unbeaten run on service games this week end, but the Croat’s ability to create chances on the return made the difference, albeit only just.

Cilic converted two of 13 break points, and was broken for the first time this week – after five hours and 12 minutes on court – to drop the second set.

However, he made the decisive move midway through the final set with a fizzing return at Muller’s toes to edge 4-3 ahead and served his way to victory.

“Today’s match was an extremely high level,” said Cilic.

“I was playing really, really good throughout all the match and Gilles was pushing me to the limit. I was mixing it up really well and just playing really smart in some critical points.

“It was not easy to keep calm after missing all the break points that I had in that second set, and then losing it.”

Analysis

John Lloyd, former British number one:

Cilic serves so well and I like the way he backs up his serve now. He’s very aggressive, standing inside the baseline.

He’s not afraid to volley, he moves well, his return of serve is excellent and I like his attitude here too. Right at the beginning of the match he was fist pumping.

He’s in form, he knows it and he’s desperate to win this tournament again.

Lopez is in as good a form as he’s been in his career I would say, the way he’s hitting the ball.

He’s managing the points and games so well, and the fight he showed there, the way he upped his service percentage in the third set when he must have been tired.

What a wonderful performance from Lopez and what a final we have against Cilic.

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