US Open 2014: Marin Cilic wins men's title after straight sets demoliton of Kei Nishikori
By Alex Williams
Last Updated: 12/08/15 3:44pm
Marin Cilic produced a dominant display to clinch the US Open title with a 6-3 6-3 6-3 victory over a weary Kei Nishikori.
In a clash between two first-time grand slam finalists the 25-year-old Croatian controlled the contest behind a big forehand and a bludgeoning serve, completing his first grand slam triumph in just an hour and 54 minutes.
Cilic, who dumped out Roger Federer in the semi-finals, served 17 aces and won 80 per cent of the points on his first serve as he outclassed Novak Djokovic’s conqueror Nishikori in all aspects of the game.
Cilic missed last year’s US Open due to a four-month doping ban but has since rejuvenated his career under new coach Goran Ivanisevic, who had previously been the only Croatian man to win one of the major tournaments.
"I think this is all (due to) hard work in the last several years and especially this year," Cilic said at the presentation ceremony at Arthur Ashe Stadium.
"My team has brought something special to me - especially Goran. The most important thing he brought to me was (teaching me) to enjoy tennis and to always have fun.
"I enjoyed my best tennis over here and played the best I ever did in my life."
The opening set was uneventful until 14th seed Cilic earned three break points in the sixth game, Nishikori saving the first two before slicing a drop shot wide on the third.
Nishikori looked slightly flustered, even complaining about the state of the balls prior to his next service game, and was powerless to prevent the Croatian serving out the set to love shortly afterwards.
I enjoyed my best tennis over here and played the best I ever did in my life.
The Japanese player continued to look shaky at the start of the second set, having to save three break points in the third game before Cilic converted a fourth when Nishikori hooked a backhand into the net.
Urged on by the New York crowd Nishikori fashioned two break points of his own in the next game but Cilic responded by winning four straight points to complete the hold.
Nishikori, who played 14 sets out of a possible 15 in his three matches preceding the final, began to look fatigued and Cilic broke serve again in the seventh game.
But this time Cilic was afflicted by a bout of nerves as an ill-advised mid-point challenge and a errant forehand helped Nishikori take one of the breaks back.
It proved only a temporary blip as Cilic converted a set point on his opponent’s serve in the next game and then started the third set with a barrage of aces.
Another break of serve came his way when Nishikori ended a lengthy rally with a wide backhand, although the 10th seed did start to hit the ball a little more cleanly thereafter.
Nishikori’s last chance came in the form of three break points in the seventh game but Cilic once again held his nerve to come through and hold before wrapping up the win soon after.