Men’s Final:  Marin Cilic (CRO) vs.  Feliciano Lopez (ESP)
Lopez disregarded the statistics because he knew he was the better player on grass despite losing their two previous meetings on the surface. Perhaps he wanted a little revenge for losing here last year to Cilic. Perhaps it was deeper than that, his love for this tournament and what it would mean to him to win this title.
Things looked grim for Lopez after he dropped the first set and had a rocky start to the second set; however, he knew from their history that winning the first set was no guarantee of victory. Both players have chinks in their armor; they both have struggled to overcome their emotions at critical moments in matches. Would that be a factor today?
Cilic is well-remembered for choking away a couple of significant matches in his career and that memory no doubt still lingers subconsciously. Some players take the lead and never look back and some players take the lead and panic.
Based on the statistics, Cilic was playing better tennis than his opponent; however, that becomes irrelevant if you don’t capitalize at crucial moments. Lopez fought the entire match and despite losing the first set, he never gave up. Cilic lost the match twice, the first time when he failed to capitalize on break points in the second set and the second time when he lost the second set tiebreak.
When you struggle with confidence, doubts do not go away easily and every mistake you make reinforces your self-doubt. Cilic’s failure to close out the match in straight sets worked in Lopez’s favor. Although Lopez got tight in the third, he was able to fight through the nerves better than his opponent and that ability won him the match 4-6, 7-6(2), 7-6(8). Lopez claimed his beloved tournament title on his second attempt (finalist in 2014).
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