Cilic matches coach Ivanisevic Sports

Cilic crushes Nishikori to lift US Open title

After winning on his second match point after a double-fault on his first, Cilic collapsed to the court in joy, then collected himself and shook Nishikori’s hand before making his way to his player box for hugs all around

After winning on his second match point after a double-fault on his first, Cilic collapsed to the court in joy, then collected himself and shook Nishikori’s hand before making his way to his player box for hugs all around   | Photo Credit: Darron Cummings

Marin Cilic followed the grand slam example of fellow Croatian Goran Ivanisevic with a 6-4, 6-3, 6-3 thrashing of Japan’s Kei Nishikori to win the US Open on Monday.

The 26-year-old Cilic has been coached by 2001 Wimbledon winner Ivanisevic, who joked that he could now quit his job after the overwhelming victory in less than two hours by his younger compatriot.

Cilic also notched his 300th career win to mark the third time in six years in Flushing Meadows that a new grand slam champion has lifted the trophy after Juan Del Potro in 2009 and Andy Murray in 2012.

He joins Australian Open champion Stan Wawrinka as a first-time winner of a major this season.

The win was a huge breakthrough for the soft-spoken Cilic. The Croatian had never played a slam or Masters 1000 final, never won an ATP 500 event and had claimed six of his 11 titles in Zagreb and Chennai.

“It seems completely unreal to be called grand slam champion. I was dreaming about this all my life, and suddenly last four, five days everything started to change,” said Cilic.



This means everything to me. 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.

“This means everything to me. 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,” said Cilic, who served an administrative ban last season for accidentally ingesting banned glucose supplements. He used the four-month pause to hire Ivanisevic and get to work on improving his big service game.

The 25-year-old finished with 17 aces and 35 winners, breaking Nishikori five times and saving eight of the nine break points he faced.

“I’ve enjoyed my tennis so much here, I think I played the best of my life,” said the Croatian.

It was the first grand slam final since the 2005 Australian Open without Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer or Andy Murray in the mix.

And it was only the third time in the past 39 majors - nearly 10 years - that none of the top four men has won. The others were the 2009 US Open when Del Potro won, and the 2014 Australian Open, when Wawrinka took the prize.

After beating France’s Gilles Simon in five sets to reach the quarter-finals, Cilic then dispatched three top 10 opponents - Tomas Berdych, five-time champion Federer and Nishikori in straight sets in his run to the title.

“I started to play absolutely unbelievable starting with the fifth set (fourth round) with (Gilles) Simon. After that I had unbelievable run of the matches against these top guys,” said Cilic.

Nishikori, the first player from Asia to contest a grand slam final, admitted he had an off day.

“It was one of [the] worst matches I played, but he was very aggressive and very fast,” said Nishikori. “I was a little bit nervous. First [major] final. I mean, even semis.

“But I was very excited these two weeks. I didn’t expect anything coming here,” said the 24-year-old who had an abcess removed from his foot in the week before the event and was unsure if he could even take to the court.

“There were so many positive things that I can have from these two weeks beating Stan and Novak. I’m disappointed but I had a good two weeks.”

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Printable version | Jun 3, 2020 10:02:41 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/in-school/sports/cilic-crushes-nishikori-to-lift-us-open-title/article6394530.ece

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