History repeated itself in Moscow as top seed Marin Cilic recorded a 6-4 6-4 victory over Roberto Bautista Agut in the Kremlin Cup final for a second year in succession.
Cilic, who had not won on the ATP Tour since his triumph at this event 12 months ago, claimed a solitary break in each set on Sunday to boost his hopes of qualifying for the season-ending World Tour Finals in London.
Last year’s US Open champion, 13th in the Race to London at present, was clinical in accepting the chances that came his way, as Bautista Agut was left to rue missing four opportunities on his opponent’s serve.
The Spaniard made a confident start, holding to 15 before forcing two break points in the next game.
However, Cilic secured a confidence-boosting hold – setting the tone for the match as the Croat ultimately came good when it mattered most to edge an even encounter.
A break in the seventh game of the match was followed by successive holds that gave Cilic a one-set lead.
And there was to be no way back for second seed Bautista Agut, who maintained an excellent first-serve percentage to no avail.