The 26-year-old Croat is the fifth of the elite eight to qualify for the prestigious play-offs at the O2 in London after Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Stan Wawrinka.
Following the release of the Valencia Open 500 draw, the Australian Open champion Wawrinka cannot fall below seventh in the Race to London. Meanwhile, Cilic has reached the semi-finals this week at the Kremlin Cup in Moscow, where he takes on Mikhail Kukushkin later today.
Consequently, Cilic is guaranteed to qualify in one of two ways: First, he can finish in the top seven in the Race; second, he will be the highest-ranked 2014 Grand Slam champion to finish between eighth and 20th in the Race, which entitles him to a place in London.
Cilic stands second on the tour, along with Djokovic and behind Federer, at 52 match-wins, and as well as winning his first Grand Slam in New York, he has taken titles in Delray Beach and Zagreb and reached the final in Rotterdam. He currently stands at a career-high No9 in the 12-month rankings.
He was understandably delighted to qualify for his first year-end finale, as he told ATPWorldTour.com: “This was one of my childhood dreams.
“It happened this year and I’m extremely happy about this success. It’s another achievement in my career. The Barclays ATP World Tour Finals is for sure one of the most interesting tournaments of the year. It is watched all over the world and brings a big attendance to all the matches. It will be a big honour for me to participate there.”
With just three places—plus an alternate—up for grabs, the contest between Andy Murray, David Ferrer, Tomas Berdych and Grigor Dimitrov continues this week in Moscow, Vienna and Stockholm, where all are in the semi-finals.
All four are also slated to play next week in the two 500 events in Basel and Valencia, along with fellow Race contender, Milos Raonic. The next highest man in the Race, losing US Open finalist and champion in Kuala Lumpur and Tokyo Kei Nishikori, does not play until the last qualifying event of the year, the Paris Masters.
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