Cilic ousts holder Schwartzman to reach Raonic decider
Marin Cilic ended the Istanbul Open title defence of Diego Schwartzman on Saturday to book a final against the fit-again Milos Raonic.
Croatian Cilic, the 2014 US Open winner, cruised through the opening set but had to save three set points during a second set tie-break before securing a 6-1 7-6 (9-7) triumph in the semi-finals of the ATP 250 event in Turkey.
Schwartzman's only career title to date came when he defeated Grigor Dimitrov in the final of this tournament 12 months ago.
But the Argentine's slow start ultimately cost him against the world number eight, despite the 24-year-old saving seven break points throughout and taking all three of those presented to him by Cilic in a chaotic second set.
"I'm definitely very excited for the final," Cilic was quoted as saying by the ATP.
"It's something I was looking forward to at the beginning of the week. I'm really happy with my tennis and hope I can continue with great tennis tomorrow [Sunday].
"It was an amazing match. The first set and a half I was playing amazing tennis, but things turned around a bit. I started hitting some unforced errors and Diego played much better.
"Suddenly I was down 6-5 and it definitely wasn't easy. I found a way and that's the most important thing in the end."
Raonic had been sidelined since late February due to a hamstring injury prior to making his comeback in Turkey. However, the Canadian appeared to be back to his imposing best as he saw off Viktor Troicki 6-2 6-3 in the second semi-final of the day at the Koza World of Sports Arena.
World number six Raonic, last year's beaten Wimbledon finalist, did not give up his serve once in the match, saving the only break point he faced to cruise through in just 67 minutes.