Cilic routs Nishikori to win US Open
Kei Nishikori from Japan had blown away those who stood in his way.
So hopes for an Asian win at a major tennis championship were high. Alas, it was not to be.
Kei Nishikori of Japan reacts after losing against Marin Cilic of Croatia. Photo: AFP
The 24-year-old Nishikori was comfortably beaten in straight sets by Croatian Marin Cilic in the US Open final on Tuesday (Sept 9, Singapore time)
14th seed Cilic, 25, clinched his first Grand Slam with a 6-3, 6-3, 6-3 victory in the US Open final - the first major final without big names like Djokovic, Federer or Nadal since the 2005 Australian Open.
Cilic kissing the trophy. Photo: AFP
Cilic, playing in his 28th Grand Slam event, is the lowest-ranked champion since Pete Sampras (Then ranked17th in the world, Sampras claimed the 2002 title in New York).
But victory was well-deserved with Cilic saving eight of nine break points.
He fired 17 aces and 38 winners past a weary-looking Nishikori, who had defeated three top five players – Milos Raonic, Stan Wawrinka and world number one Novak Djokovic – to make his maiden major final.
The big Croat’s 11 winners to the Japanese’s two illustrated the one-sided nature of the contest.
Once he had saved a break point in the first game, Cilic was comfortably the dominant player breaking for 4-2 and claiming the opening set in 33 low-key minutes when Nishikori, on the defensive and pinned behind the baseline, patted a meek backhand into the net.
Kei Nishikori of Japan returns a shot. Photo: AFP
The winner of 20 of the previous 21 men’s finals in New York had claimed the first set.
That statistic proved prophetic when Cilic claimed the title after one hour 54 minutes with a sweet backhand crosscourt in the third set of the game.