BASEL, Switzerland (AP) Marin Cilic beat Kei Nishikori in straight sets to win the Swiss Indoors title Sunday, a repeat of their 2014 U.S. Open final meeting.
The fourth-seeded Croatian raced through the first set in 25 minutes on his way to a 6-1, 7-6 (5) victory, clinching on a double fault by the third-seeded Nishikori of Japan.
Cilic’s second title of the season, and 16th of his career, strengthened his hold on the last qualifying place for the ATP Tour Finals in London.
Ranked No. 12 coming to Basel, Cilic rose above Tomas Berdych in the points race earlier this week. The eight-man Finals week lineup is decided at the Paris Masters starting Monday.
Sunday’s final was the first Basel title match in a decade that did not feature hometown favorite Roger Federer. The seven-time Basel champion ended his season early due to injury.
Cilic also won on hard courts at Cincinnati in August, and all seven of his singles titles in the past three seasons have been on that surface.
The most significant of those titles was his only Grand Slam victory, when he beat Nishikori 6-3, 6-3, 6-3 at Flushing Meadows.
Nishikori, who still holds a career mark of 7-5 over Cilic, wasted three chances to force a deciding set Sunday when he led 5-4 in the second.