(September 8, 2014) Fourteenth seeded Marin Cilic of Croatia won his first major title by beating tenth seed Kei Nishikori of Japan 6-3, 6-3, 6-3 on Monday in the US Open final.
The Croat dominated the match throughout hitting 17 aces and 38 winners during the less than two-hour match
Both players were making their Grand Slam final debuts. The last time this happened was in 1997.
The 25-year-old Cilic is only the third man other than Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray to win a major since the middle of 2005.
Just a year ago Cilic missed the tournament due to a doping suspension which was later reduced.
“I mean, seems completely unreal to be called Grand Slam champion,” Cilic said. “I was dreaming about this all my life, and suddenly last four, five days everything started to change. And with my tennis especially. I started to play absolutely unbelievable starting with the fifth set with Simon. After that I had unbelievable run of the matches against these top guys. And what it means to me, it means everything. It’s just a huge accomplishment and huge moment for myself and for my team and for everybody around me who was with me all these years supporting me, believing in me and never giving up. So this is just the peak of the world.”
“I think I showed, you know, my potential I can beat anybody now,” Nishkori said. So if I can keep train hard and, you know, also practice hard, I think I have more chance coming up.”
The man from Japan defeated 5th seed Milos Raonic in the fourth round and 3rd seed Stan Wawrinka in the quarterfinals, both in long five-set matches. he followed the wins up by taking out the top seed Novak Djokovic in four sets.
Cilic, dismissed No. 2 seed Roger Federer in the semifinals in straight sets.
Cilic talked about the key to winning the tournament. “The key was definitely I was playing my own game and it was working extremely well. Last ten sets I played I played amazing tennis with everything, starting from serve, starting from movement, all different shots. Return with Federer. In Federer’s match was great I think overall. My performances were great.”
“A lot of guys are saying people would like to watch top four guys much more to extend their streak at the top and to extend their run at the Grand Slams, because, I mean, they attract the most, the fans and the TV, and everybody else,” Cilic said. “But sort of one day definitely they gonna go out and there’s gonna be a need for somebody else. I feel this time, this year — I mean, I think the guys from second line were a bit lucky because Andy Murray was also having trouble with his back; Wawrinka was up and down with his tennis after Australia; few other players were not playing at the best all the time. And Rafa is not here. So that opened a little bit the gate for everybody else. I feel it’s gonna definitely be much bigger competition from next year. I feel the guys at the top are gonna pull the other guys, too. I think the game of tennis is definitely going to evolve much more.”
“I feel, very inspirational for all the other guys out there who are, you know, working and sometimes losing motivation, having trouble to dig deep and to believe in the achievements. I would definitely feel much stronger if I would see somebody like me accomplish things like this. It sort of came out of nowhere for me. Few things clicked in just right before tournament sort of. I felt great about them, and match after match I played really good tennis. These last three matches, everything was working perfectly.”