Nishikori Gets Revenge On Cilic At US Open, Will Face Djokovic In Friday SF
by Staff | September 6th, 2018, 12:30 am

Kei Nishikori got some measure of revenge Wednesday at the US Open against Marin Cilic. The Croat blew him out in the 2014 final, but today the Japanese No. 1 turned the tables overcoming a set and a break deficit to win 2-6, 6-4, 7-6(5), 4-6, 6-4 in 4 hours, 8 minutes.

Cilic came out hot early and was overpowering the smaller Nishikori. But Kei woke up and found his form and reeled off six straight games to take the second and go up in the third with a break.

After a 10-minute heat break, Cilic regained control in the fourth but went down 4-1 in the fifth. He got the break but trading breaks when you are one down didn’t add up and Nishikori won his third straight US Open quarterfinal, and 9th meeting with Cilic in 15 tries.

“He started very well,” said Nishikori. “I didn’t feel like I was playing great. I had to stay tough, especially in the second set.

I started playing better from 4-2. I tried to swing a little more, play aggressive and start working better from 4-2 down,” he added. “I am really happy to win and to go through matches like this. It wasn’t easy and I didn’t feel like I was playing my best tennis today, but I fought through somehow and it gives me big confidence.”

Cilic was trying to get back to the US Open semifinals also for a third time, but 70 unforced errors did him in.

“I came out in the match great, 6-2, 4-2 serving, and everything was going great,” said Cilic. “Just a little bit of a shift of the momentum there. Kei started to hit a little bit better. He broke me. He won six games in a row there, converted three of three break points and just put me back a bit on my back foot.

“From that point on, I felt the match was quite even,” he went on. “Felt that I created enough chances to even maybe win earlier, win that second set and I had some chances, as well, in the third. [It is] unfortunate to lose that. With a great, quality player like Kei, he also had his chances, and he made it.”

On Friday, Nishikori will meet nemesis Novak Djokovic. The Serb won a tough tussle with Australian Federer-killer John Millman 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 in 2 hours, 50 minutes.

“Very tested. Almost three hours, it’s midnight now. Credit to John for putting up a great battle. He’s a truly great fighter. He’s had an amazing tournament,” Djokovic said on court.

Millman’s steady baseline game forced Djokovic into exhaustingly long rallies. Djokovic’s ability to better hit through the slow court proved the difference. And the heavy conditions prompted an abrupt clothing change as Millman apologized to Djokovic for having to leave the court at 2-all in the second just before the Aussie was due to serve.

Djokovic, who was a little weary at the time, was more than happy to take a break which turned out to be about six minutes.

“I needed that rest. It was great,” he said.

Then late in the third, Djokovic pushed the serve clock to zero, and the second time John McEnroe quipped he did it on purpose which drew a fault penalty and eventually he lost his break lead.

Djokovic has now made the US Open semifinals 11 straight times.

Djokovic has won 14 of 16 against Nishikori having won 13 straight. But Djokovic last loss to Nishikori came at the 2014 US Open semifinals.

“I don’t have a great record against Novak, but it’s always been a tough match in the past couple of years,” Nishikori said. “Always excited to play Novak, because it’s a great challenge for me. It is always exciting to play him.”

“If he wins, it’s going to be tough, but John is playing great. Either one is going to be tough. I will try to be aggressive and positive out there and hope I can play good tennis in the next round.”

The Nadal-Delpo is a rematch of the 2017 and 2009 semifinals.

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34 Comments for Nishikori Gets Revenge On Cilic At US Open, Will Face Djokovic In Friday SF

chris ford1 Says:

Clearly Novak will have to up his game. He posts the numbers he did today, he loses to Kei. (29 winners, 53 UFEs, 4 of 20 on break points).

That said, tonight was the last of the brutal heat and humidity and that will perk up Novak. He didn’t struggle like that against Souza.
And this is his 11th straight time he made the semi-finals at the USO. Quite a feat!

Nitesh Says:

Super feat by Djokovic. Although he won in straight sets but longer rallies were troubling him physically.

Van Persie Says:

The weather will be one of the main factors on Friday. I saw the finish of the match and the highlights.
If Djoko will play like today, he will lose against Nishi, even if the last one might feel the 5 setter against Marin.

El_matador Says:

Nole is formidable again..he can win matches even when he’s below his best..i’m hoping that delpo finally gets one on rafa in the slam this year..& this is the best place for him to do it..i couldnt watch the earlier matches but watching some highlights & reading the posts of chofer about how delpo is fired up,in the zones,playing much more better in the bh side-i have high hopes for the clash tomorrow..but if delpo has to beat rafa & nole b2b,it will be very tough & grueling..but he won the us open in 2009 defeating fedal cant wait for tomorrow..vamos delpo!!

Michael Says:

Apparently, Novak was wilting under the oppression of excessive humidity and also was seemingly suffering from sinus infection. He looked extremely weary and exhausted right after the end of first set. He might even have over acted to mislead his opponent. Ostensibly, he was not at his best in terms of physicality as well as his game. But as Champions always do, he found a way to win.

BBB Says:

Millman is a fabulous player. The attitude is amazing. He’s a sportsman to boot. An old-fashioned Aussie.

I hope he is able to sustain this level of play.

Daniel Says:

Temperature will drop Friday, 30% chance of rain from noon all the way to dawn, 23C / 74 F humidity 73%, much better conditions.

Sunday even lower temperatures and more chance of rain precisely afternoon when finals take place. There is a good chance it will be another indoor match and most likely against Nadal (unless DelPo delievers). The spanyard will be piss to face Novak 2 Slams in a row in indoor conditions should he beat DelPo.

Everyhting is shaping to another Djoko title, now the wors is gone and he didn’t have to face neither Fed nor Cilic. But even so, both Nadal and DelPo (who usally plays his best versus Djoko also with some classic matches) will be tough.

Can’t see him losing to Kei, he will just return too many serves in.

BBB Says:

Kei’s beaten him before at the USO, no? My own sense is that Kei’s level has dropped, but I still think he poses a challenge.

lylenubbins Says:

Weather change is huge for the Joker.

skeezer Says:

“Can’t see him losing to Kei, he will just return too many serves in.”
Agree Daniel, Kei does not have the service game to hurt Nole.

Yes, but….twas an anomaly. ;)
Agree about Millman, would like to se more players with this kind of enthusiasm and positivity about the game.

Daniel Says:

A challenge all poses, even Millaman looked like he could drain him yesterday. But he dominates Kei ever since that USO defeat, which was a pretty close 4 setter. By law of avergaes Kei could be in for another “revange”, but on form and the player he is today don’t think so. Djoko is fired up, knowing that the weather will be on his side will eliminate that extra doubt and pressure of conditions off.

Djoko in 3. Maybe 4 if Kei clicks for a brief while, but he is not that consistant this tourney to take 3 sets out of Novak. He would have to play 2 levels above to upset

J-Kath Says:

Yes BBB + Skeezer:
Millman has had a lot of injuries which has been an issue for quite some time – However, I still wish people would not refer to him as a “journeyman”.

Truth Says:

Novak had a bunch of break points.
Of course he had tons of errors. He wasn’t exactly fighting to win every point.

He did a foolish dropshot then twisted his leg when Millman returned it. This made Novak overcautious.

There were 11 consecutive break points that he half heartedly played with.
Stop acting like he was spraying dozens of errors on his serves.

BBB Says:

He certainly doesn’t need “pep talks” from the chair umpire, ahem.

The way he apologized to Djoker for wanting time to change his clothes – it was such a great exchange from both of them. You don’t often see that kind of relaxed banter mid-match.

Daniel Says:

Indeed, and Djoko relief face when he realize he would get an extra 4-5 min rest was awesome. He with a smile almost saying: “Thank god!”;-)

Mystic - Willow Says:

Well done Nishi im so glad he beat Cilic, but i doubt he will have much left for Novak, still i suppose he beat him before, and its the most open GS of them all so you never know ….

Humble Rafa Says:

Japanese door mats are nice, I am told. They just fold easily. Nice to have.

Giles Says:

Rafa/ Delpo first match on Friday at 4 pm.

FedExpress Says:

11 straight semi for Nole

Shows same consistency as Fed does at the AO.

But considering that he has only 2 trophies to show for. and lost 5 finals.

FedExpress Says:

1st semi: Rafa def Delpo in 3 or 4 sets
2nd semi: Nole def Kei in 3 sets

Final: Rafa def Nole in 3 sets

BBB Says:

I mean, to say to an opponent “I could use the rest” – it had to be so brutal out there.

Daniel Says:

No way, Nadal has never beat Djoko in straight sets in any of their Slams finals not even on clay.

Djoko has won last 7 matches they played on HC, but Nadal last victory was precisley USO 2013. But back than he was full of confidence having beat him Canada 3 weeks ealeri and in RG semis. NAdal was in Djokos head.

This time he has the Wimby semis and more tired add a ultra confiedent Djoko after Wimby / Cincy.

To me is Djoko 55-45 if they meet in final.

Giles Says:

^^ Nah. I’m going with FE.

Humble Rafa Says:


Konichiwa. I know Asians are good at match, but To me is Djoko 55-45 odds is not too precise. Can you be more accurate, like 3 decimals? Yes, it counts towards your grade.

FedExpress Says:

Nadal beat him 2 USO finals, lost one. I favour him since he escaped Khachanov.

Although Nole is more consistent in this tournament than Nadal, Nadal takes another gear when he reaches the latter stages.

Nadal having more US Open titles than Nole is quite strange tbh.

Humble Rafa Says:

I favour him since he escaped Khachanov

I beat Jennifer. Didn’t escape.

chofer Says:

I still have Delpo as my pick. So you can consider it an upset.

My fear it’s not Rafa’s lefty top spin to Delpo’s BH (he handle that well with Verdasco, hitting only ONE slice the whole match)but the drop shots. Rafa will hit tons of them to disrupt Delpo’s rythm and catch him in netherland (somewhere between baseline and net) Delpo will have to be quick with his feet to react. Especially on second ball.
Drop shots. That will be the key. Delpo will have to drop covering his left wing that much. Rafa won’t let him invert to hit his FH so often. So must do Delpo with Rafa. He will have to hit BHs down the line to prevent Rafa to invert and hit inside out.
Rafa moves better (duh) but Delpo’s serving better.

Another thing to see: Rafa will try to serve a good kick high to his BH. That’s something that could neutralize Delpo’s second ball. So he will need to drop his slice almost entirely, and use it only to defend or change rythms ocasionally to Rafa’s BH (a slice down the line intead of crosscourt)His slice, also, has improved so much it’s not an easy shot to attack. Although Rafa will catch a floater here and there to attack the net.

The thing is: since Delpo’s left wrist surgery and debilitated Bh Nadal found an opening like he usually did with Federer.
My faith is based in that the wrist are is not hurting and with Verdasco he showed he can play out of his comfort zone and hit two.handed BHs down the line and stop inverting that much.

Keys to Rafa: first serves percentages. Hit a kick high to Delpo’s BH or to the body. Attacking some bad slices (floaters) and close it out at the net. Lots of drop shots.

Keys to Delpo: fisrt serve percentages. Use his slice judiciously and very low, especially down the line. Don’t excpect a second serve return three feet behind the baseline: attack Rafa’s second serves. Hit BHs down the line more often and crosscourt very wide. Quick reaction with feet as Rafa will try to shorten the points by dropping him to death.

He’ll need it tomorrow.

skeezer Says:

“I beat Jennifer. Didn’t escape.”
So Humble.

Wog Boy Says:

Just checked the highlights and USO app stats, it appears that Nole and Millman were running twice as much per point compare to Cilic and Nishikori, 20m to 10m. That means they run more in their three sets than the other two in five!

Saying that Nishikori will be more tired is wrong, based on stats, and he had extra couple of hours to rest.
He will be fired up, I give advantage to Nishi, and Nole is back in top 4 regardless of SF outcome.

As for Millman, typical true blue Aussie dude, sad thing is that they are dying out.
This is for Millman, song that explains old fashion Aussie attitude, Tru Blue and Steve Irwin memorial on the grounds of Australian Zoo In Queensland where Steve was buried in the private ceremony somewhere on the ground, it is everybody’s guess where since the grave is not marked:

I love the song

BBB Says:

Osaka is so awesome. I really hope she never changes.

Sisay Says:

FedExpress @ 3.22
No…rafa wont beat nole in 3, not in this US hard court. But i have a feeling that nole can beat him in 3 (with one set being a breadstick). I can see this nole is very much firedup…we all know his level when he is interested. Refards.

Sisay Says:

Sorry really…it was to mean regards..

Mystic - Willow Says:

Nadal beat Djokovic twice at the USO not once 2010 and 2013 ….

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