This year’s U.S. Open matches were as exciting as any, but the men’s final unfortunately, didn’t live up to those high standards, unless you’re a Marin Cilic fan.
Cilic dominated Kei Nishikori in the final, beating him 6-3, 6-3, 6-3. It was the first Grand Slam title for Cilic, who missed last year’s event due to a drug policy violation. This was the first Grand Slam final since the 2005 Australian Open that did not feature Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal or Roger Federer.
The match was truly a one-sided affair, as Nishikori struggled heavily against the strong-serving Cilic.
Nishikori had his chances to break Cilic during the match. For example, during the first game of the third set, Cilic fired three straight aces, putting Nishikori down 40-love. He managed to come back and take the game to two deuces, but he ultimately was unable to rally and lost the set.
That was the story of Nishikori’s match in a nutshell. He couldn’t beat Cilic’s serve and no matter what he did, he just fell flat. Cilic fired 17 aces, while Nishikori only managed one.
When asked about what inspired him and others against the top three players, Cilic, who beat Federer in straight sets to advance to the final, stated that it was Stan Wawrinka’s win at this year’s Austrailian Open over Djokovic that opened the door for the lesser known players to come through.
It was a nice run for Nishikori as well. During the course of the tournament, he was able to knock out heavily favored Milos Raonic, and take out both Wawrinka, and Djokovic, the Wimbledon champion.
With his win, the 14-seeded Cilic became the second lowest seed to win the U.S. Open since Pete Sampras, who was the 17th seed in the 2002 Open.
Without question, Cilic will see a spike in his ranking, and with a serve as powerful and precise as his was today, this might not be the last we hear of him.