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Cheese-loving Kyrgios lands maiden ATP title

Tennis

Nick Kyrgios has double cause for celebration after securing his maiden ATP title in France.

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Kyrgios’s stylish 6-2 7-6 (7-3) victory over 2014 US Open champion Marin Cilic in the Marseille Open final overnight (Australian time) also saw out his six-month suspended sentence for sledging Stan Wawrinka last year.

Australia’s two-time grand slam quarter-finalist had been walking an emotional tightrope since August as the prospect of a 28-day ban shadowed his every move at ATP events.

Kyrgios can now breathe easier as he closes in on an all-important top-32 seeding for the French Open starting on May 22.

The 20-year-old is projected to climb to 32nd in the rankings after sweeping to the title in Marseille without dropping a set in five matches.

His straight-sets dispatch of the 12th-ranked Cilic followed even more convincing wins over world No.10 Richard Gasquet and world No.8 Tomas Berdych, his third-round Australian Open conqueror last month.

“I came here not expecting to win it, to be honest. It was a tough field – Marin, Berdych and guys like this,” Kyrgios said.

“But I played high quality all week. It was a great tournament. I really enjoyed my stay a lot. It’s one of my favourite places and I played really, really well today.”

Kyrgios crunched 16 aces, broke Cilic twice and even produced a no-look forehand winner and some Roger Federer-like SABR tennis in a super impressive final showing.

“The level was really high. I thought we both served really, really well,” he said after prevailing in one hour and 25 minutes on the indoor hardcourt surface.

“The atmosphere in here is really, really good. The crowd is unbelievable.”

Kyrgios thanked his team, including brother Christos, for “keeping me on track all week” after crowning his stay in the south of France with a cheque for 106,175 euros ($A165,000).

“I’ll be back for sure,” he said.

“J’aime bien le fromage!”

Or, translated: ‘I love my cheese’.

-AAP

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