Cilic strengthens grip on Finals berth with Basel victory
Marin Cilic is on course for a place at the ATP World Tour Finals after defeating Kei Nishikori 6-1 7-6 (7-5) to win the Swiss Indoors.
It has been a memorable 2016 for Cilic so far and, having claimed his first Masters 1000 title in Cincinnati in August, he now has a maiden ATP 500 crown to his name.
The result in Basel leaves the Croatian ninth in the Race to London, which - taking Rafael Nadal's season-ending injury into account - would be enough to see him earn one of eight spots at the tournament.
Cilic is 210 points clear of closest challenger Tomas Berdych ahead of this week's Paris Masters.
After sharing the opening two games, Cilic stormed clear to take the first set at a canter.
The second proved to be a much more even contest, although Nishikori was made to survive three break points to hold serve in the opening game.
It was the Japanese who had to battle hardest to stay on level terms, but a strong start to the 10th game presented him with two set-point opportunities, both of which were squandered.
A third chance to take the set fell by the wayside before the tie-break, with Cilic wrapping up the win at the second time of asking.