UMAG, Croatia (AP) — Aleksandr Dolgopolov of Ukraine captured his first ATP title by defeating home favorite Marin Cilic 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 in the clay-court Croatia Open on Sunday. It was only the second final for the second-seeded Dolgopolov, who lost a clay-court final to Nicolas Almagro of Spain earlier this year in Costa do Sauipe, Brazil.
"I feel great after winning my first title," the 22-year-old Ukrainian said. "I hope more victories are to come."
Dolgopolov troubled Cilic throughout with drop shots. He broke in the opening game of the match and easily held serve during the set.
Cilic, seeded No. 4, broke Dolgopolov decisively to lead 5-3 in the second set.
Dolgopolov raced to a 3-0 in the decider but wasted two break points for 4-0, allowing Cilic to rally and level at 3-3. The Ukrainian broke again for a 5-3 lead, and sealed the victory with a crosscourt backhand.
"It was really a tough match," Dolgopolov said. "I got nervous in the third set, but I am happy I was able to win. This is a big win for me. I am really happy with what I achieved."
Cilic was the first Croat to reach the Umag final since Goran Prpic defeated compatriot Goran Ivanisevic in 1990.
"Dolgopolov was better tonight and deserved to win," Cilic said. "His fast rhythm caused me problems in the beginning, he seemed to be unbeatable the way he played. I adjusted in the second set and managed to change that.
It was a pity how I started in the third set, I was too attacking and gave him a few points too many."