Marin Cilic and Kei Nishikori will meet in the final of the 2014 US Open.
Marin Cilic has all of a sudden turned into a monster on the tennis court, defeating both Tomas Berdych and Roger Federer in straight sets. In his semifinal win over Federer, Cilic had 13 aces, won 87 percent of his first serve points and hit 43 winners. Marin Cilic has been unstoppable with his serve throughout the tournament, winning more than 80 percent of his first serve points in all six of his matches. Cilic also has 159 winners in his last three matches, as he’s simply in a zone and probably playing the best tennis of his life right now. At the young age of 25, Cilic always had potential to be great and give the top tennis players trouble, but not many expected it to be this fast, especially after struggles in the Canadian and Cincinnati Masters. But as long as Cilic can continue to serve the way he has in his last couple of matches, he’s going to be a tough out for anybody. This is Cilic’s first career major final appearance.
Kei Nishikori is another improbable US Open finalist, as he defeated Novak Djokovic in four sets after beating Stan Wawrinka in his previous match. In his victory over Djokovic, Nishikori had 37 winners, won 71 percent of his break points and averaged a first serve speed of 106 mph. It wasn’t the cleanest match we’ve seen from Nishikori, but his combination of power and speed frustrated the top tennis player in the world. Nishikori has no less than 37 winners in four of his six matches and has been able to keep his first serve percentage points at 70 percent or above in five of his six matches. Now that he’s healthy, Kei Nishikori is playing the best tennis of his career right now and has a chance to become a household name with a win here. Of course, this is Nishikori’s first career major final.
This will be the eighth time these two have met and Kei Nishikori leads the series, 5-2. Nishikori has won both meetings this year against Marin Cilic, one in Barcelona and the other in Brisbane. Cilic hasn’t beaten Nishikori since the 2012 US Open, but he also lost to the Japanese player when they met in the 2010 US Open. This will be the seventh time these two have played on hard court.
While Cilic is serving out of his mind right now, Nishikori has the ability to handle the serve better than most. Nishikori has also dominated Cilic throughout his career. I was on Nishikori when he played Milos Raonic, Wawrinka and Djokovic, and I’m backing him here. Nishikori is the more complete player and will once again find a way to win.