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Cilic takes Delray Beach title

Marin Cilic emerged victorious from a three-hour battle with Kevin Anderson to win the final of the Delray Beach International Championship.

The 25-year-old Croatian, who recently collected his 10th career title in Zagreb, needed three sets to deny South Africa's Anderson his second Delray Beach title in three years.

He showed no signs of fatigue from his rain-delayed semi-final against John Isner when taking the first set on a tie-break but Anderson broke back to win the next breaker 9-7.

Cilic denied his opponent four break points in the decider and broke Anderson's serve twice to clinch a 7-6 (8-6) 6-7 (7-9) 6-4 victory.

Cilic told atpworldtour.com: "It feels awesome, especially after waiting for a long time last night and finishing after 1am. Then today to come back and win it, I'm really happy with this victory."

The win took him past Ivan Ljubicic to second among Croatian players in terms of ATP Tour titles won, behind only his coach Goran Ivanisevic.

And Cilic said: "It wasn't easy for my nerves, for Goran's nerves especially. In the final some nerves can get into your body and you have to deal with it in the end. Luckily I found a way."

Cilic will move to 25th in the new ATP world rankings after earning 250 points to go with his prize money of 81,500 US dollars (49,000).

Anderson, who reached the final by beating American qualifier Steve Johnson, said: "I was happy making the final, but a little disappointed right now.

"In the third [set], I just didn't put down the clamps of getting back in the match and giving myself a chance. He was going to take one of his chances."