By Hayden Roger Celestin
News Americas, FLUSHING,NY, Sat. Sept. 6, 2014: No one, not even the bookies, could have predicted the Saturday shocker at happened at the U.S. Open today. From all indication, five-time finalist and reigning U.S. Open champion, Novak Djokovic, was headed to the finale and of course Roger Federer would play him and play hard. But that was not on the
cards much to the stunned disbelief of many fans at the Arthur Ashe Stadium and those watching across the country.
No. 10 seed Kei Nishikori of Japan marched into the history books as he shook off back-to-back marathon five-setters to oust Djokovic in four sets, 6-4, 1-6, 7-6, 6-3 and become the first Asian ever to reach a Grand Slam finals. And there was more for the history books much to the stunned disbelief of Djokovic.
Nishikori became the lowest-seeded player to reach the men’s final since Pete Sampras in 2002, and the first player in the Open era to defeat three Top 5 seeds to reach the last stage of the Flushing Meadows men’s singles.
For Djokovic, the loss ends his push to reach a fifth consecutive US Open final and adds to his growing list of New York heartbreaks. He has now reached the semifinals or better here for eight consecutive years but has just one title (2011) to show for it.
And if that was not enough of a shocker for fans, the No. 14 seed, Marin Cilic, of Croatia, delivered the knock out punch when he ousted fan favorite, the No. 2 seed, Roger Federer in only his second appearance in a Grand Slam semi-final.
Federer, who has won 17 Grand Slam titles, including five at the Open, was solidly beaten 6-3, 6-4, 6-4.
Cilic’s rebuilt serve made the difference. He lost just five points on serve in the first set, offered 13 aces to one double fault in the match, won 87 percent of the points when he got his first serve in play and faced just two break points, getting broken just once.
On Monday, it will be the clash of the underdogs in a final no one could have predicted as Cilic will face Nishikori, in the most surprising US Open men’s singles final since No. 13 seed Patrick Rafter defeated unseeded Greg Rusedski in 1997.