(Reuters) – Top seed Novak Djokovic produced a stellar display to sweep aside Croatian Marin Cilic 6-3 6-4 in the final of the ATP 250 Tel Aviv Open on Sunday and clinch his third title of the season.
Djokovic, playing in his first singles event since winning a seventh Wimbledon crown in July, launched an early attack on his opponent’s formidable serve as he broke Cilic in the second game before going on to take the opener in just under 50 minutes.
Cilic, largely untroubled on serve all week, found himself under constant pressure against the Serbian’s deep returns and was broken again in the first game of the second set, allowing Djokovic to seize control of the match.
The 21-times major winner did not relinquish that advantage as he stayed perfect on his own delivery to secure his 89th career title and 19th victory over former U.S. Open champion Cilic in 21 meetings.
The title should come as a major boost for Djokovic, who missed the U.S. Open and the North American hardcourt swing due to his decision not to get vaccinated against COVID-19 before returning to action at the Laver Cup team event in London.
The 35-year-old’s next stop is the ATP 500 Astana Open, which kicks off on Monday and will feature world number one Carlos Alcaraz and Daniil Medvedev.
(Reporting by Dhruv Munjal in Bengaluru; Editing by Ken Ferris)