News Americas, FLUSHING, NY, Tues. Sept. 9, 2014: It was a U.S. Open men’s final for the record book – a Japanese versus Croatian player who had both trumped past the world’s two top seeds and blazed their way into the match of a lifetime.
But on Monday it was the Croat, Marin Cilic, who ended the victor, as he proved just way too much for Kei Nishikori. At the end of it all, Cilic had slayed the Japanese 6-3, 6-3, 6-3, leaving a stunned Nishikori sitting on the sidelines after the match.
After earning his spot in the US Open final by dismissing both No. 6 seed Tomas Berdych and No. 2 Roger Federer in straight sets prior to the final, Cilic continued his dominance against 10th-seeded Nishikori, playing with a relaxed, loose and consistent game that left Nishikori struggling to keep up.
He cruised through in just under two hours to capture his first Grand Slam title and become the first Croat to win a major title since compatriot and coach Goran Ivanisevic won Wimbledon in 2001.
Cilic is also the first No. 14 seed to win a major title in the Open era, and the first US Open champion outside the Top 10 since No. 17 Pete Sampras won in 2002. His previous best Grand Slam finish came at the semifinals of the 2010 Australian Open, as well as the quarterfinals of this year’s Wimbledon Championships.
He also now holds the second best record in match wins this season at 47-16.
“This is all hard work,” said Cilic, 25, celebrating his first major win. “For all the other players out there working hard, this is a sign that it works.”