Kei Nishikori v Marin Cilic In The US Open Final, Who’s The Pick?
by Sean Randall | September 8th, 2014, 12:30 am
  • 153 Comments

Some 36 hours later, it’s still just as hard to digest the fact that Kei Nishikori and Marin Cilic are actually playing for a Grand Slam title on Monday. Let’s be honest, had this been a first round matchup at another event few would even have cared, now it’s a final for a Grand Slam title. Amazing.

Sticker shock aside, credit to both players. I’ve long tabbed Nishikori as a future force on the tour provided his frail body allowed him to actually play on the tour. And so far this fortnight it has. Playing what I call a hybrid Ferrer/Davydenko game, he’s constantly on the attack and smart enough to play defense when he needs to. What he lacks in size – he’s just 5’10″ – he makes up for in speed and aggressiveness. Oh, if only he were a few inches taller.

At 6-foot-6, Cilic is more than a few inches taller. But the Croat has been a bit of an enigma. Despite his size, he’s not known as a power player. Like a Tomas Berdych, just without that so-called “easy power”. Cilic is always a dangerous threat but never one who actually follows through. He wins titles in places like Zagreb, Umag and Chennai. And since arriving onto the scene in 2007, he still hasn’t made a Masters 1000 semifinal, yet here he is playing for one of the biggest prizes in the sport and on the cusp of what would be a life-altering victory.

And after momentous wins on Saturday, both guys should be fresh and confident heading into their final showdown. Nishikori leads 5-2 having won the last three including two this year. They have played at the US Open before splitting two meetings. So Kei has the decided head-to-head edge there.

But Cilic is a different player under former Wimbledon champion Goran Ivanisevic. Goran’s finally forcing Marin to make use of that lanky frame to go after the serve more and to dictate with those solid groundstrokes. And after consecutive wins over Gilles Simon, Tomas Berdych and Roger Federer, it’s clearly working.

Nishikori has also tapped the past. Michael Chang has honed Kei’s game and strengthened his mental resolve – Kei would never have even served underhanded to Lendl because he would have retired long before getting to that point! Now after consecutive five setters and a stunning win over Novak Djokovic in the searing heat, Kei is not just tough but strong.

So the final is set.

On the surface, it’s easy to take Cilic’s power – his serve, he forehand – and size over Nishikori. But power doesn’t always win out. Just ask Milos Raonic. Armed with one of the greatest serves the sport has ever scene, he tried to blow the Japanese off the court but couldn’t. And few hit it harder off the ground than Stan Wawrinka, yet the Swiss also failed.

And I still go back to that Madrid match when Kei had Rafael Nadal in a hammerlock on his home soil. Now he beats Novak Djokovic on his very best surface. That’s quite remarkable in every way. Yes, Cilic blasted Federer at a tournament he had won five times, but Kei’s effort was better. And that combined with his health and head-to-head record over the Croat make him the choice for me.

However this season has been one hell of ride, so it would only be fitting to see things go exactly the other way. But that happened on Saturday, right? So…
The pick: Nishikori in 5

CBS will have live coverage of the US Open men’s final at 5pm ET. Yes, it’s Nishikori vs. Cilic. Believe it.


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153 Comments for Kei Nishikori v Marin Cilic In The US Open Final, Who’s The Pick?

Michael Says:

I have been lucky fancying in this tournament the prospective winner of a match. The only time I went wrong is with respect to Novak who I thought would win against Kei. Now coming to the final, it should be a tightly contested match with little to seperate both the players and where the margins are small. So, predicting a winner would be difficult and you can be proven wrong. But, just for the amusement of it, let us be the job of speculating and I pick Cilic over Nishikori in five sets with three well fought. If Cilic wins,it would be a massive breakthrough for him.


Steve 27 Says:

Is a refreshing final, the CBS broadcasting US Open ends today. An asian can make history for the first time and a second Croatian can win a major too. Chang Nishikori against Ivanisevic Cilic could be an intersting match up. If this match will be on clay or grass I will not have doubt but on hards, the differences are slim, so I am definitely sure there will be at least 4 sets. Perhaps this could be the match who ends in a fifth set tiebreak for the first time in the tournament. Someone in 5.


jane Says:

“CBS will have live coverage of the US Open men’s final at 5pm ET”

last one; then it moves to espn. we end with something old and move on to something new. maybe? or will the coverage be same old, same old?


FedExpress Says:

yeah i hope that these guys fight for the big ones next year

not like hewitt-safin , gaudio-coria or del potro who didnt reach any finals after that


Okiegal Says:

Real champions, like what we have been used to for so long, will back it up tourney after tourney. We will have to wait and see if they’re the caliber of the big “4″……..very doubtful, imo. Don’t want to take anything away from what they have accomplished the last two weeks, they both have pulled off some amazing wins!! I think the finals will be exciting…..a new champion awaits….picking Cilic!


Colin Says:

On the face of it, Chang helping Nishikori seems natural enough: one man is oriental, the other an American of oriental stock. In fact, many orientals would find the partnership surprising. World War II left a legacy of bitter hatred by the Chinese for the Japanese.Popular Hong Kong war movies depict the Japanese as sadistic villains.

Compare the situation with Irish-Americans, many of whom have not forgotten British deeds dating back a lot further than World War II.

Chang is evidently a sensible man living in the present. And, of course, Nishikori hardly cuts a villainous figure!


Giles Says:

Kei is gonna bag this.


Klaas Says:

For the sake of tennis in general, let us hope that smart, flexible, variable tennis wins, and big-frame ball-bashing loses. The future of tennis is at stake here! Is it going to be a sport for hardhitting giants, or will it still be a combination of brawn and brains which will decide the outcome.

I find Cilic, Del Potro, Isner, etc. very sympathetic humans, but as tennisplayers they are destroying the sport.


Alexandra Says:

Hoping for a Nishikori win, but a Cilic win is ok too. Obviously the talk about the end of an era is slightly premature.


FedExpress Says:

i think the loser of this match will end up like baghdatis, gonzalez, philopussis, clement etc a one slam finlist

the winner could end up like moya, ferrero, del potro, krajicek, ivanesic, johannson etc one slam wonder

or they will surprise us


Ben Pronin Says:

A couple of thoughts:

I’m very excited for this final. As Federer’s and Djokovic’s matches, I can’t be upset about the results now. Nishikori and Cilic have been playing incredible tennis for 2 weeks and thoroughly deserve to be playing for the title. They may not be the big names but this result is very fitting. It goes without saying that I was impressed with Nishikori’s fight against Djokovic. But holy wow was Cilic scary. I mean the guy was simply in the zone. Maybe Federer could have returned better but I didn’t think he played inherently bad. Cilic was simply too good in every way. The scoreline was routine but it wasn’t even as close as that. The first 2 sets were over in an hour and a half! How often does Federer LOSE 2 sets that quickly?

What’s great is that there’s simply no way to know who’ll win. They’re both playing phenomenal tennis. I think if Kei’s body continues to hold up, he has the slight edge game-wise and the match itself will be cracker. But, no matter how many times Nishikori has proven us wrong this week, I still think it’s something to look out for. A magical 2 weeks doesn’t undo an entire career for physical fragility. But I do hope he pulls through. I won’t be upset if Cilic wins but Nishikori beat the 5, 3 and 1 seeds just to reach the final. Should he win the title, it would have to be considered one of the greatest slam runs we’ve ever seen.

I have to congratulate Serena. I’m not a huge fan of hers but she played awesome this week. Last chance to win a slam this year and she stepped up big time.

Also a big congratulations to the Bryan brothers! 100 titles! Simply insane. I think it’s cool that Americans won the women’s singles and men’s doubles titles. There’s so much talk about American tennis struggling but I think that’s the men’s single bias stuff. The Bryans have dominated the game more than Federer, Sampras, Laver, or any other guy in singles ever did.

Finally, I am so happy this is the last year CBS hosts the US Open. I really hope now that the TV contract is going to be redone that the US Open will finally normalize their schedule. Having the men’s final on the Monday night is a huge buzz kill. I love tennis and all but the tournament should be over already. But also, man am I tired of listening to Mary Carillo. She’s been commentating for how many decades now? And she STILL hasn’t learned to shut her mouth DURING POINTS?! And she’s always laughing at her own jokes that aren’t even jokes. It’s infuriating. Plus Bill Macatee, who I don’t have a big problem with but he really just doesn’t know much about tennis. Then you throw in John McEnroe who stoops to Carillo’s level of awfulness and basically showcases all of his worst commentating habits. He’s more than capable of some great analysis when he actually cares to do it but in the CBS booth he’s just making dumb jokes with Carillo the whole time. Good bye, CBS, and good riddance.


elina Says:

Cilic in 5.


elina Says:

The US Open Men’s Final in 2015 onwards will be on Sunday. The semis will be on Friday.

Not a fan of Serena’s antics but respect her massive skills. Probably the best women’s player ever. She had such control of the ball with amaaaazing power yesterday against Caro.

It would have been nice to see Caro finally win though.

The best female commentator for me is Martina.


bbsocrates Says:

Cilic’s win over Fed reminded me of Sampras’s win over McEnroe in 1990 US Open SF. Utter dominance and changing of the guard.

Like the Nishikori kid though, he played Nadal tough at Aussie and should have beaten him in Madrid, plus beat Fed in Miami too.

Cilic is playing dominating tennis, just look what he did to Birdsh!t and Fed. Cilic in 3.


jane Says:

this is rather sad, but there are some interesting points in the article about adjusting

“U.S. Open Final Ticket Prices Plunge Without Star Power”

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-09-07/u-s-open-final-ticket-prices-plunge-without-star-power.html


MMT Says:

Agree with a lot of what’s been said – one thing to note. Nishikori isn’t a player who tends to generate a lot of innate power, but his technique on both strokes is outstanding – particularly the forehand which he can hit with both a lot of spin or flatten it out, as he did for a set and half against Nadal in Madrid – he very nearly pulled a Soderling on him there.

One thing I have to question in the article: since when is Cilic known as anything BUT a power player. He certainly doesn’t have a lot of variety either technically or tactically. He basically bludgeons the ball on both wings every chance he gets. At his height, he has the advantage of very few shots coming towards him getting out of his optimal strike zone. The exception is low slice (which he handles pretty well on the forehand, but did particularly well on the low backhands, which has been a problem in the past).

Another thing Cilic is doing exceptionally well is defending with interest – I still don’t think he moves well, but normally he doesn’t have to when he’s hitting down hill 90% of the time.

I think the key to this match will be the extent to which Nishikori can stay on the baseline particularly when he’s serving. He backs off his second shot like most players do, he’ll be destroyed. If (like Federer tried and failed to do) he stays on the baseline and even can find a way to push Cilic back, then he is by far the better player technically and should be able to dictate.

I don’t think he can leg this one out – he’s going to have to push Cilic back whenever he can. If he has a drop shot, he should use it as well. Side to side, Cilic is much better than when he comes forward.

I’d also like to point out something: Cilic’s suspension for doping last year is yet another example of the tennis’ phony doping program. The substance in his system was nikethamide, a stimulant, which he ingested accidentally from glucose tablets.

What I find absurd about it is that not only did they accept that he sought no performance enhancement from the substance which he ingested indirectly, they also indicated that if he had had a “Theraputic Use Exception” he wouldn’t have been banned at all.

Huh?

I don’t understand why they choose to “prosecute” these cases where they AGREE that no performance enhancement was sought, and the player could have ingested it legally if he had just asked for it anyway. What is the point of this?

Meanwhile, Martina Hingis is back after being banned for 2 years for cocaine, which NOBODY believes is a performance enhancer (the same for Gasquet, BTW – who I believe claimed he got it from a kiss…must have been one hell of a kiss).

If tennis is serious about doping, they shouldn’t be monkeying around with things like nikethamide. If their tests are incapable of catching dopers of performance enhancing dope, that can be taken for no other legitimate purpose than enhancing performance, they should improve their tests and stop this charade of harassing athletes who’ve clearly just made a mistake, or have an active nightlife.


Ben Pronin Says:

Scapegoats, MMT, scapegoats.


G Corp Says:

The other side of the story is that the SF losses of Djokovic and Federer actually benefits Nadal, the supposedly defending champion. He benefits as the win of Nishikori and Cilic means Djokovic will not gain more points for number 1 ranking while Federer will not extend his lead with Nadal on Grand Slam count. For all we know the injured Nadal is the happiest with these SF results and nobody seems to think about that.


pitchaboy Says:

Nishikori in four.


Brando Says:

This match is as close as to a 50/50 as you could possibly imagine and really no one has a real idea of what they are in for which makes it ultra exciting Pre final. For me the key area probably will be Cilic’s serve: he was serving in the mid 50′s first serve in by the end of the 2nd set v Fed. Now Roger’s return game- as others noted- was not upto the mark in that match. Kei though I think would actually cause Marin alot if problems if that stat repeats in the final. If Marin gets his first serve in % for the match to the mid 60′s then he’ll be a really tall order for Kei to beat. I’ll be honest: I had not seen Marin play in a long, long while till the SF and I was hugely impressed by his serve: it’s a heck of a weapon and brilliant one. As Brad Gilbert said- it’s the most improved stroke on the tour in the last year, and you can see why. Goran Ivanisevic deserves alot of credit for that. And his groundstrokes were almost equally impressive: consistently deep, penetrating and above all else: overwhelmingly powerful. It’s when Marin is in mid court that he looks a touch vulnerable but at the back of the court I really think he can hang with Kei for sure. With his serve and power, he’ll ensure quick points. Who wil won though: more than likely the one who keeps it most stable in between the ears.


Giles Says:

How can a ything that transpired in the USO benefit Nadal??? The man did not play, the man loses 2000 ranking points!! What you are trying to say is that Rafa’s withdrawal from the USO could have been worse for him IF joker and fed had better results. But to say that he benefits is going a step too far!


pitchaboy Says:

Federer let Cilic get away with a 51% serving day by giving him free points on his second serve!!! And he was serving at 61% himself. To lose when you are outserving your opponent in straight sets, shows an abysmal performance on the ROS game and ground strokes. If you cannot pressure the guy’s second serve, he then is totally at ease on serve as he knows he has two chances each serve to put you away. No matter how you look at it, it was a performance unworthy of a slam SF by anyone, let alone a guy who has won seventeen of them.


pitchaboy Says:

Cilic’s second serves will be punished today and that will put immense pressure on his first serve. And he will be upended on ground game.


Ben Pronin Says:

I think not having to face one of the legends of the game will really ease the pressure on both guys. They’re not going to be “it was sure great to get here, I just hope to play my best against this guy with a million slam titles already” but rather “this is my chance and this guy is just as inexperienced as me”. I mean this could easily be a 4th round match up at just about every other event. So, no, it’ll depend on who plays better, not what’s going on between the ears. They already did their part on that end.


pitchaboy Says:

None of the legend stuff mattered to either guy in the SF. Federer was literally blown away and having paid to watch that travesty, it was pretty awful. The other SF was more interesting with set 3 being more closely fought.


RZ Says:

@Ben – it will be interesting to see how the view the situation. It could ease the pressure as you suggest, but the opposite could also be true – knowing that they are in a better position to win based on not having to play a Big 4 member. I think both of them having coaches who have won 1 slam and were in a few more finals will help.


jane Says:

i wonder if kei’s return game could be the difference? but then again it depends partly on how well cilic serves. it’s just that kei beat raonic and stan already, so he’s managed a lot of big hitting, and then with nole, kei really took advantage on the second serve return. but kei has expended far more energy too. hmmm… so tough to call.


Margot Says:

Go Kei! Yay!


Steve 27 Says:

Del Potro and Wawrinka say Hello!


Raymond Says:

I’m a Cilic fan and I hope he can pull through. But Kei won’t get overpowered. He hit through raonic and wawrinka who are bigger hitters than Marin. I think Kei wins in four unless he’s really nervous.


senorita Says:

G Corp Says:
The other side of the story is that the SF losses of Djokovic and Federer actually benefits Nadal, the supposedly defending champion.

September 8th, 2014 at 10:40 am

What on earth do you mean by ‘supposedly’ defending champion? Nadal is the defending champion whether you like it or not.


Steve 27 Says:

Imagine if Kei is Chinese as NaLi, the impact would be even greater because men’s tennis generates larger audience than his female counterpart.
Anyway, さあ!


Okiegal Says:

I think Nishi will continue to be plagued by an injury here in their, especially if he continues to go deep in tournaments. It’s happened a few times before. Hip problem??


pitchaboy Says:

There is a lot of talk of “big four” in tennis. There really is only a “big two” anymore. (Nadal and Djokovich). The other two guys are “somewhat big twosome”.


madmax Says:

It is amazing Sean, but how wonderful that all of us here can watch this slam final, without rafa fans having a go at roger fans, roger fans having a go at rafa fans, murray fans having a go at roger fans, novak fans having a go at rafa fans, etc.

It is a clean slate. For the first time in (has it EVER HAPPENED BEFORE?), we could all be sitting in a pub watching this slam together!

So, yes. It is amazing and unpredictable.

I go for Cilic tonight, because he has been around longer and I think will come onto court being super aggressive.

Having said that, I honestly do not care who wins. They both deserve to be there.

What a treat!


madmax Says:

pitchaboy Says:
None of the legend stuff mattered to either guy in the SF. Federer was literally blown away and having paid to watch that travesty, it was pretty awful. The other SF was more interesting with set 3 being more closely fought.

September 8th, 2014 at 11:07 am

Pitchaboy,

I haven’t had time to read all the comments here on Roger’s demise against Cilic. Still in shock in a way, because I felt that perhaps things caught up with him.

I am still shocked though that his game plan against Cilic didn’t work, when it had 5 times before.

Goran did well though to coach Cilic and probably said, very simply, just play ever shot like it is going to be your last.

Federer was way too tentative when he should have been more than confident.

Anyway, what is done is done.

Now, we can all watch this match without anyone falling out!


Pitchaboy Says:

When u watch the replay of the match, observe the negative approach of Federer. He was staying way behind baseline for the second serve. He needed to take it early, on the rise and attack.


gonzalowski Says:

Kei can interrupt the european dominance on male tennis (after Delpo 2009)


FedExpress Says:

I have a feeling that todays outcome may break or make one others career.

i fear more so for cilic. lives and dies by his service. one bad service day or one mental meltown and he is toast. didnt happen in the last two matches where he was break down in the third on both of the matches. would have been interesting if it had gone to a fourth and how he owuld have coped with it


Okiegal Says:

Cilic drew first blood……


RZ Says:

One bad service game can cost you the set.


the DA Says:

I predicted Kei in 4 and I’m going to stick with that. Cilic always starts hot so I fully expected him to get the first set. His FH is the more vulnerable because he hits it so flat – it can breakdown and the shots can go awry. Looks very breezy out there too.

If he does pull this off, Goran should be credited for an almost miraculous feat of changing a player’s mentality.


FedExpress Says:

did cilc ever beat nole btw???


RZ Says:

@FedExpress, no but he hadn’t beaten Fed until Saturday either.


RZ Says:

@FedExpress – I have the feeling that Nishikori will contend for several other big titles (assuming he stays injury free) but Cilic may only contend for one or two other big titles. I don’t know why I have that feeling. But it’s one of the 3 main reasons I’m rooting for Kei (the other 2 reasons being I’ve liked Kei for years and I also prefer to watch his game than Cilic’s)


Humble Rafa Says:

CiliKori is such a cracker!


Okiegal Says:

@Klaas

So tall people are going to ruin tennis…..don’t blame them, put the monkey on the parent’s back!! I couldn’t believe what you posted. You are saying tall people shouldn’t play……weird opinion in my book….don’t agree but I will respect it.


RZ Says:

Nishikori just hit the most impressive dropshot I’ve seen. Wow.


the DA Says:

Too many errors and too much overhitting from Kei. Not to take anything away from Marin but he’s gifting points. What’s amazing is the composure of Marin – for 2 huge matches in a row now.


Okiegal Says:

Marin’s girlfriend is a cutie patootie……very attractive!


Okiegal Says:

Mr. Cilic is staying very composed and poised during the service break situations. He pulled that game out…..


Okiegal Says:

Nice shot, Kei!


FedExpress Says:

marin has a girlfriend????????


Humble Rafa Says:

A remark from a Humble country man:

I would rather watch paint dry than watch this match.


skeezer Says:

Picked Cilic in straights ;)

Not over but it seems to be going that way.

6’6″ vs 5′ ?”

Goliath vs David.


Pitchaboy Says:

A pattern is evolving. Berdych, Federer and Nishikori can’t handle the guy’s second serve. Cilic has gone from J.V. To professional in a real short while? Time to run a dope test.


Ben Pronin Says:

The guy improves his second serve so he must be doping? That’s CRAZY!


FedExpress Says:

how did marins service become so good

at wimbledon against nole he was broken at will in the las two sets


the DA Says:

Ivanisecilic


Tennis Fan Says:

So good to have druggie Slam Winner


FedExpress Says:

now gulbis has to become a GS

and the golden of the 88s will be complete


Ben Pronin Says:

Nishikori isn’t playing his best, sure, but Cilic is playing amazing. I said this match would come down to how Nishikori’s body holds up and it’s not hence the beatdown.


Pitchaboy Says:

A guy has a logarithmic jump in serving and shot making abilities over a couple of weeks. Go watch his Toronto match v Fed and compare it to the last three matches. Maybe we have “Angels in the outfield”.


Daniel Says:

Massacre.

He will win 10 straight sets for the title. Totally zoned!


FedExpress Says:

the famous cilic choke coming????

has to arrive at some point at the USO


Ben Pronin Says:

Cilic is in the Zone. It happens. Maybe he’s doping but so is everyone else so that’s not why he’s winning.


FedExpress Says:

cilic never lost from 2-0 up, surprising

break kei


the DA Says:

Bonzai Kei (or whatever come on is in Japanese). I want to see a fight.


Daniel Says:

Well his human after all;-) serving 5-2 recover from 15-40 and made a bad stop call.
Still a break up.


Daniel Says:

Wow, even the net against Kei. Set pont (match point)


Daniel Says:

Wow, what a forehand. He took all the time for a perfect shot.
Double 6-3 and will start serving third set. Nishi needs an early break because Cilic is not letinghim get in this match.


FedExpress Says:

kei has to do it the hard way

what a worst possible time would it be for cilic to lose from 2-0 up


the DA Says:

Damn nets messing things up since forever. There were some signs of tightness from Marin towards the end of that set. That’s all Kei can hope for now.


FedExpress Says:

a guy who never won a 500 or 1000 tourney is going to become a GS

weird

like wawrinka


FedExpress Says:

cilic serve is wobbling in his last thre service games


RZ Says:

Cilic is playing great. It’s a shame that Nishikori is not playing as well as he did earlier in the tournament. It could have been a real great battle.


the DA Says:

Well, Marin is just zoning now. Every shot is going in, even the mis-timed shots. Serving to go up 4-1. Traditionally the wobble comes around here. So weird that Kei can’t read his serve but handles Raonic’s bombs so well.


Thangs Says:

Poor Kei, got jinxed and nothing is working for him today..Cilic is power-serving…


Thangs Says:

Berdych must be crying. After AO, he looked uninterested in tennis….Just like Cilic, he has beaten Federer, Nole in slams..but in next round, he had to face Murray or Nadal.


Pete Scissors Says:

Sorry, but this match is boring. Cilic is serving incredibly and hitting his forehand wonderfully, but it isn’t very much fun to watch, particularly against a downcast, cowed opponent. The rallies aren’t dynamic and the tennis is really straightforward. No drama. It’s only been a couple days and I already miss the Golden Age of tennis (2004 – 2014).


Tennis Fan Says:

Need some of whatever this guy is on…


RZ Says:

Crowd being annoying again. They should not be cheering for faults!


Okiegal Says:

The crowd going nuts for 2 more sets……they dont give a hoot who wins! Lol


kriket Says:

Čilić has been playing flawlessly throughout the tournament I don’t know how Sean could’ve picked Kei to win.


Ben Pronin Says:

Nishikori clips the tape and it falls to his side. Cilic clips the tip and it falls over. It’s just Cilic’s day.


Okiegal Says:

Wow…..held his composure yet again! His ground strokes are working as good as that serve!!


the DA Says:

Everything is going Cilic’s way today. Everything. But Kei – missing those 2 shots on BPs is just a cardinal sin. How many 15-40 chances has he squandered?


the DA Says:

Here we go. Let’s see what ya got Marin.


kriket Says:

And now the moment of truth


Okiegal Says:

Colic the Champion!!


kriket Says:

Easy peasy. Congrats to Čilić, well done.


Okiegal Says:

Stupid spell check….CILIC THE CHAMPION!!


RZ Says:

Congrats to Cilic on an excellent tournament. I hope both Cilic and Nishikori use this as a springboard to greater things.


RZ Says:

@Okiegal – LOL.


Ben Pronin Says:

What a performance. Feeling for Kei. He had an insane run. But he ran into a force today. Even on some of Nishikori’s best points, Cilic had a ridiculous answer. Sometimes you just have to say too good. Well done, Cilic.


the DA Says:

That was a scary good performance. I think Kei will get another shot. It sounds so weird writing it out: Cilic, slam champion. Very similar to Nole’s breakthrough in 2008. I think they’ll have different paths though. Vastly different.

Hurry back Rafa and Andy – just for 2-3 more years.


Okiegal Says:

I’m anxious to see what will follow. If he continues like this……watch out!!


RZ Says:

I really feel for Michael Chang. This must be a reminder of when he got to the final after Sampras was out of the tournament, only to get blasted by Pat Rafter.


Thangs Says:

Cilic is gonna have very good indoor season. Favourite to win WTF or atleast finalist. Much like delpo’s 2009 run.


Okiegal Says:

I picked Cilic to win….Mark one up for Okiegal!!


RZ Says:

Oops, I mean when Chang made the semis only to lose to Rafter.


jane Says:

wow, i missed the whole thing; thought i’d get back to my office to see the “second half” of the match and it’s over!

HUGE congrats to marin! he made me sweat buckets at the french open and wimbledon playing novak, so i knew he was “coming on” all year, but who expected such a rout? not me. i really thought it’d go 4 or 5.

will have to read the comments.

good job to all / any who picked him. nice to see the “small market” prevail sometimes. ;)


Simon Says:

Ben Pronin Says:

“Cilic is in the Zone. It happens. Maybe he’s doping but so is everyone else so that’s not why he’s winning.”

Yeah sure, whoever beats federer is doping. Loser!


Wog boy Says:

The result was expected, at least for me, I said that on the other thread two days ago. As much as Nishikori was good Stan and Nole didn’t play their best against him, on the other side Cilic was blasting his oponents off the court one by one including Nishikori. Some of you obviously didn’t watch his matches this year, and his matches are not boring, that is not fair to say. He serves well, he moves well, he doesn’t ping-pong the balls, he takes balls early, hits very deep and pretty flat with lot of power, very composed on the court and just play very efficient tennis…and I am not Cilic fan (nor Ivanisevic) but I am glad for him because he was/is GS material since he turned up, I said that too few days ago on the other thread.
Well done Cilic.
PS I don’t think Nishikori will ever win GS, not even make a final…and I like him BTW.


Eric Says:

Simon, Cilic was banned from the tour for a doping offense.


jatt Says:

well, my suspicion was correct. Cilic repeats what his coach did..win a grand slam.Like I mentioned in the previous thread, when i saw his match with berdych, he looked very dangerous at that time. I am not sure even if djoker could have stopped him today.Brings back memories of 2009 final with delpo. I am very happy to see nice personalities like Kei and Marin coming up on big stage.


jatt Says:

wog boy, I would say its too early to rule kei out. If only he can add some power to his serve and take care of his fragile body, he will be the one to watch out.


the DA Says:

The hype about the collapse of the big 4 is rampant -of course. However, which final are you going to remember from this year? WImbledon vs AO & USO = no contest. Even RG was more exciting. Not saying they aren’t capable of playing exciting finals but don’t be quick to write the others off yet.

Also, lots of twitter based schadenfreude and giggling about Andy falling to No. 11 but they forget: he could be drawn to meet their favorite in Rnd 3 (M1000s) and Round 4 (slams). Not so funny then. Not thinking it through ;)


Wog boy Says:

jatt, as I said I really like him, his tennis, his manners, his on court presence but he has to do everything harder way then most of the others because of his height in order to win GS and his body pays a price for that. Cilic was serving from the tree and Nishikori was serving from the well, poor thing.


jane Says:

“If he does pull this off, Goran should be credited for an almost miraculous feat of changing a player’s mentality.”

i seriously wonder if the ban (i agree with mmt and fed’s take on the ban – innocent mistake) served as incentive/motivation. he also had time to work.

probably a combination of work / time/ goran.

the da ” Very similar to Nole’s breakthrough in 2008. ”

just curious, how so or how do you see them as similar?

nole had won masters tournaments, beaten the top 3 in succession at montreal, reached the us open finals the year before (was the youngest to reach semis of all slams). i think his was more predictable to win. indeed, i believe he was #3 in the world when he won?


jane Says:

maybe nishikori will win the australian or french? he seems better suited to those surfaces. he pushed rafa at the AO and at madrid… so…

whereas cilic has beaten murray, a former champion, at the us open before (right?) and pushed nole this year at wimbledon to five sets.

to me, one’s game suits construction of points and slower surface, the other’s game suits bit hitter and faster surface.

mind you all surfaces are supposed to be the same now so who knows! ;)


Wog boy Says:

Ben, I will disagree with you, scapegoat wasn’t Cilic (he was cought redhanded), scapegoat was Troicki in order to let Cilic free but still show to the tennis world that they are doing something about doping, o fcourse Troicki provided them with a good reason to kick him out because of his stupidity, so he came really handy and in the right time. He was never really sharp dude.


jane Says:

^ big hitting


Wog boy Says:

^^”of course”


RZ Says:

@Jane – I agree re: Nole’s breakthrough. He had been the #3 player for a long time by the time he won. To me it was more of something that was a long-time coming than a sudden surprise.


the DA Says:

@Jane – Not similar with regards to career path but just the slam itself. For example, defeated Federer in straight sets and then faced a player who had knocked out some big names.


TennisVagabond.com Says:

I never thought I’d see the day Marin Cilic was a grand slam champion. For those who don’t think the Old Order/ Pax-Big Four has been shattered… Marin Cilic is a grand slam champion.

The rising tides will carry many ships.

Vanguard propagandists are shouting, How many more Slams will Cilic win? Look at Wawrinka. But they’re missing something big: it’s not just Cilic. It’s Cilic, Kei, Milos, Dmitrov, Thiem, Wawrinka, Monfils and Kyrgios. That’s a LOT MORE dark horses who can knock off Big Fours. And when that happens, ANY of the rest of that pack can pick off the bones of the Slam. And Tsonga, Bredych and Ferrer are still around.

The ATP has become a a minefield. It reminds me very much of the new balls era: Hewitt, Safin, Guga, Fed, Hasse, Roddick, Ferrero: for a couple years the tour was a Wild West, with Agassi still battling the kids.

Tennis was wide open. And then Fed rolled it up into a little ball and locked it away in his cupboard for five years. So, one of these new guys might just do that, as well.


jane Says:

the da, oh, i got you. yeah, that i can see. :)


jane Says:

but i would add that cilic didn’t just defeat fed (2); he also took out berdych (6), another top ten guy, a guy who also beat fed at the us open and who took andy to 5 the year he won. as well as simon, who is very pesky, and anderson, another big hitter. he didnt have an easy draw at all.

nor did nole the year he won the australian; he also beat ferrer (5) and hewitt (22 but home favourite) before he beat fed (1) and tsonga.

tsonga took out gasquet (8), youz (14) and then rafa (2) (as well as andy (9) but that was round 1)

By the way, how did tsonga meet the ninth seed in round 1?


Wog boy Says:

Tsonga was ranked low (not top 32), he was working his way up coming back from injury.


Wog boy Says:

^^for jane


the DA Says:

@Jane – one minor correction: Berdych took Andy to 4 ;)
The other similarity I forgot – first time slam finalist.


Simon Says:

Eric Says:
Simon, Cilic was banned from the tour for a doping offense.

Yeah, but it was not intentional. And that is why his suspension was cut short to time served because ITF realized that they made a mistake.


Polo Says:

Wog Boy is right. Cilic blasted his opponents off the court while Nishikori got on by the skin of his teeth, particularly against Roinic and Wawrinka. The result of this final was not totally unexpected. Well done, good job by both. Congratulations to Cilic.


Polo Says:

The Big Four remains the same although the ground on which they stand on has gotten shaky. Federer is old. Nadal is ailing. Djokovic is married and will have a child soon. Murray has lost his way. It will still be hard to get pass those four in any tournament but the lanes to pass through have gotten a little bit less narrow.


Wog boy Says:

“Yeah, but it was not intentional.”

How do we know it wasn’t intentional?

Shane Warn, cricketer, was cought few years ago and he tried same deffence “my mother gave me her pills to lose the weight, it wasn’t intentional”, but it didn’t work, he still had to serve one ore two years ban, I forgot now. Those mothers that are buying over the counter pills to their sons, professional athletes, hmm..


Wog boy Says:

Sorry Sean, I forgot, no more doping posts from me, you are free to delete them.


jane Says:

thanks wog boy, re: 9th seed and the da, sorry, you’re right; it was a 4th set tb with berdych. and yes,cilic and kei were both first timers as was tsonga. nole did beat two slam champs on his way to his first title though (hewitt and fed)

polo, yes, good assessment of the “big four” and the wider lanes; i like that analogy.


Steve 27 Says:

And now we have to predict a winner for Australia 2015, perhaps a Rafa Nole part II…


jatt Says:

Steve 27, one thing I am sure, whenever rafa comes back fully rested, it means trouble for everybody else.He’ll on tear..


Bob Lewis Says:

That was very clinical by Marin. Congrats to the big Croat!


Polo Says:

Thanks Jane. That was a two week roller coaster tournament but in the end, the guy who played the best won and kudos to him. It will be a while until we all Tennis-X bloggers get in touch again. Take care everyone. No hard feelings. It’s all part of the fun being lovers of this game. Let’s forget any harsh words said and get ready battling each other again in the next big tournament. Thank you everyone!


Skeezer Says:

“And now we have to predict a winner for Australia 2015, perhaps a Rafa Nole part II…”
Old news…
Cilic vs Kei II.
—–
So funny to hear the Rafafanics chime in ” if Rafa was playing ” or “if he played”.
Last time he played he got schooled by a 19 yr old, LMAO.


Eric Says:

I agree, Simon — you can go back to the tennis-x blog posts when Cilic was banned and see my comments if you like — but it seems harsh to call Ben a “loser” for referencing Cilic’s doping ban when he was, in fact, banned for doping.


Eric Says:

Also, I’m not saying Cilic is personally doping (I don’t think they have PEDs for the mental game yet, which is the main improvement over Cilic of 2010-ish), but I’ve come around to agreeing with others here that it’s rather naive to imagine that no one is, even among the players who have already “made it.”


Thomas Says:

Brilliant win for Cilic! I personally enjoy watching power players like him. They add some variety to the game. Now the question is, if he can add 1 or 2 majors to his name before his career is done? I think it’s possible, since in 2-3 years the big 4 are not going to be as good as they are now IMO.(could be wrong, but I doubt it)


Wog boy Says:

Marin is not spring chicken himself, he will be 26 in two weeks time, but I can see him getting one or two more GS titles.
One thing I forgot to say, watching Nole’s matches against Marin this year and Roger’s at the USO, the reason Nole was able to beat Marin was his return game, Roger served well but his return game wasn’t good enough for Marin.


Wog boy Says:

^^Same reson Marin played five sets with Simon, Simon’s return game.


Ben Pronin Says:

Let’s just ignore the fact that I was responding to someone else who accused Cilic of doping because he second serve has been so tough to handle…


Josh Says:

This final was boring. Cilic is an okay player, nothing special. The only thing I really enjoyed about this year’s USO is that Roger will finally consider retiring. It’s hard to watch him lose to these guys in straight sets.


Okiegal Says:

What constitutes a boring tennis match? …….just curious……


Sirius Says:

Okiegal,

you should know that better than most. You used to say tennis was “boring” until rafa came (or was it because federer was dominating?)


RZ Says:

I think boring is in the eye of the beholder.


Okiegal Says:

@Sirius……I’m impressed…..you were listening. You are so right. I did say that and you remembered….wow! I don’t particularly like serve volley type tennis ….short points, I like the baseline, pusher type. I just find it more exciting.
I did stop watching because Federer was dominating. There was no question who was gonna win a match when it was Fed and someone……until Rafa came along….end of story for me. I’ll admit, I have been hooked ever since. Roger is a fantastic player and he has the records to prove it. I love to watch him and Rafa battle it out. Some of the most memorable tennis matches ever!


Okiegal Says:

RZ………You are so right! I agree. I was curious why Josh thought it was boring in his eyes. I enjoyed it.


Sirius Says:

@RZ,

agreed

@okiegal,

seems like (fortunately) my memories are quite sharp!


Polo Says:

Good job Sirius! :-)


Okiegal Says:

@Sirius

Sharp as a tack….what can I say? LOL You are very fortunate. I had a mini stroke in 2008 and my short term memory sucks big time……but I have never forgotten why I started watching Rafa! LOL

@RZ……Thanks to you……you’ve had my back before….appreciate that!!


Okiegal Says:

@Polo…….Says, good job, Sirius….Are you complementing him for his excellent memory or for calling me out? Still curious…..did curiosity really kill the cat? LOL!!


MMT Says:

I want to clarify the point of a previous post on Cilic’s doping ban. The ban on Cilic was idiotic because they agreed that it was 1) unintentional 2) he could have had the substance in his system with a theraputic use exemption anyway. For these reasons, I see no reason to ban him – he should have been allowed to continue playing until the ruling and the ruling should have been some kind of probation.

Having said that, I do believe that players are doping in tennis – of this I have no doubt. In fact, the doping convictions over the last 10 years are so spurious, one begins to suspects that the only thing tennis DOESN’T want to catch is actual performance enhancing dopers – a bit of having their cake (appearing to be tough on doping) and eating it too (the game appearing to be clean).

Until a big name player gets CAUGHT using performance enhancing drugs, I won’t believe tennis is serious about anti-doping.


Sirius Says:

@okiegal,

sorry to hear about your stroke. Now that that’s in the past and hopefully those things never happen again and wish that you have a healthy life :)

About the memory thing, i don’t know if i ACTUALLY have sharp memories, i was only trying to sound funny in my last post. Some things i can remember, some things i don’t. I read your post about disliking s&v and finding interest in the game again after rafa’s arrival. It probably caught my attention to some extent. So i think thats why i could remember it.

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