Prior to the commencement of the tournament, if someone had predicted that the title is going be fought between world number 10 and 16, well, that could have been played on a PlayStation and not at the Flushing Meadows.
Prior to the commencement of the tournament, if someone had predicted that the title is going be fought between world number 10 and 16, well, that could have been played on a playstation and not at the Flushing Meadows.
But in reality, it has happened as Croatia’s Marin Cilic shocked the tennis and the sporting world with his stinging serves and flat groundstrokes to douse off Roger Federer with a 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 upset victory to enter in his first Grand Slam final ever.
Coached by former tennis great Goran Ivanisevic, Cilic was forced to sit out last year’s US Open during a doping suspension, but here he is, making history and the first man from Croatia to get this far at a major since 2001. For the first time in nearly a decade since the great Marat Safin beat Aussie Lleyton Hewitt at the Australian Open in January 2005, a major final will be contested without at least one of the top three (Federer, Djokovic or Rafael Nadal). Shift in power one presumes?
What a sad day for the Federer fans who saw the second seeded Swiss, a champion here (2005 and 2008), and bidding to become the oldest winner of a Grand Slam title in more than 40 years and vying to reach a seventh final at the Flushing Meadows. Just like a Hollywood movie, Federer played into Cilic’s hands as the Swiss ace was out-played by the 25-year-old Croat in mere 2 hours and 52 minutes.
Onto the other semifinal, Japan’s Kei Nishikori became the first man from Asia to reach a Grand Slam final, stunning topseed and favourite Novak Djokovic 6-4, 1-6, 7-6 (4), 6-3 at the US Open.
Coached by former Tennis icon, Michael Chang, Nishikori outclassed Djokovic, who had made through the last four U.S. Open finals, and also beat 2011 champion Andy Murray in a gruelling four-setter in the quarters. But the recently married Serb never looked comfortable against the Japanese talent and spent much of the match jostling around the court as Nishikori dictated points.
After dropping the first set, Nishikori came into the third set with a third-set tiebreaker and forced Djokovic for four unforced errors and a double-fault. Nishikori then broke him to open the final set, and Djokovic wasted three break points in the next game. Nishikori converted 5 of 7 break points, while Djokovic was just 4 for 13.
With none of the top names making the cut in the final of the US Open, the tennis world is seeing a shift in power. From Stanislas Wawrinka winning the Australian Open in January to Nishikori and Cilic making the finals of the US Open; eventually that makes tennis as the grand winner!