Cilic grabs Finals place, one slot left

PARIS • Croatia's Marin Cilic secured his place at this month's ATP World Tour Finals in London, while ending David Goffin's hopes with a 6-3, 7-6 (11-9) victory over the Belgian at the Paris Masters on Thursday.

The 2014 US Open tennis champion avenged three earlier defeats by Goffin this year to leave just one remaining spot in the eight-man field at the prestigious Nov 13-20 event.

Goffin was eliminated from Tour Finals contention following the loss, with Austrian Dominic Thiem, Czech Tomas Berdych and Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga fighting for the last berth.

Cilic will face either world No. 1 Novak Djokovic or 14th seed Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria in the quarter-finals in Paris.

Djokovic cruised into the last 16 on Wednesday, beating Gilles Muller of Luxembourg 6-3, 6-4. The Serb is trying to hold on to his No. 1 ranking from the fast-charging Andy Murray, who laboured past Fernando Verdasco 6-3, 6-7 (5-7), 7-5 in his opener to keep his bid of ending Djokovic's 122-week reign at the top alive.

Djokovic has suffered a loss of form since completing a career Grand Slam at the French Open in June. But he brushed off talk that he is resorting to spiritual guidance to help him get back on track following reports that Pepe Imaz is in his players' box.

Imaz, once ranked in the world's top 200, runs a tennis academy in Marbella that styles itself on prioritising a "person's well-being, feelings and emotions". But the Serb rejected claims the Spaniard serves as his "meditation guru".

"I don't know where you heard that he's a guru, first of all," said a smiling Djokovic. "And second of all, he's been part of my team for several years.

"He's been in tennis for all his life."



Q-finals: StarHub Ch201, 9pm

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 04, 2016, with the headline 'Cilic grabs Finals place, one slot left'. Print Edition | Subscribe