Feliciano Lopez saved a match point as he came from behind to beat Marin Cilic of Croatia and claim the biggest title of his career at Queen's on Sunday in the Wimbledon warm-up event.
LONDON (AP) Feliciano Lopez saved a match point as he came from behind to beat Marin Cilic of Croatia and claim the biggest title of his career at Queen's on Sunday in the Wimbledon warm-up event.
The 35-year-old Spaniard failed to break the serve of fourth-seeded Cilic throughout the grass-court final but fought back to win 4-6, 7-6 (2), 7-6 (8) in a match lasting around 2 + hours.
In the deciding tiebreaker, Lopez saved a match point when trailing 6-5 with a stretching forehand volley, before sealing victory at the third opportunity.
A beaten finalist in 2014 when he failed to capitalize on a match point against Grigor Dimitrov, Lopez once more displayed his grass-court skills ahead of Wimbledon.
''I cannot believe that I've finally won this trophy,'' Lopez said. ''It's the best week of my career - to win this tournament at this stage of my career, it's so amazing.
''It's tough to put that match point (in 2014) away from my mind. I was serving for the match again, it was so difficult to handle my nerves.''
Seventh-ranked Cilic, the 2012 champion, played a near-perfect opening set. He saved Lopez's only break point with an ace before striking with his first opportunity to take the lead.
Lopez's serve often came to the rescue with 10 aces during the second set, the most important of which saved one of Cilic's two break points in the second game.
Having forced a tiebreaker, Lopez found another gear and produced faultless tennis to take it 7-2.
Neither player earned a break point as the high-quality serving continued in the third set, leading to a decisive tiebreaker.
Cilic had the first match point, but Lopez executed a fine volley under pressure before finally claiming the title as Cilic sent a forehand wide on the Spaniard's third match point.
''There is no better preparation going into Wimbledon,'' Lopez said. ''To win here, to play Wimbledon in a week, is a great feeling.''
''It's tough to believe at 35 that I'm playing my best tennis, but I am.''