Marin Cilic beats Roger Federer to meet Kei Nishikori-US Open final

Marin Cilic beats Roger Federer to meet Kei Nishikori-US Open final
    Marin Cilic beats Roger Federer
    Marin Cilic - Roger Federer
    One of the most stunning days in recent tennis history ended with Marin Cilic beating Roger Federer to set up a US Open final against Kei Nishikori.

    Federer and world number one Novak Djokovic had been expected to set up a repeat of the Wimbledon final but instead both were the victims of huge upsets yesterday.

    After an off-colour Djokovic’s four-set loss to Nishikori, Cilic produced a remarkable performance in a one-sided 6-3 6-4 6-4 victory over the 17-time grand slam champion.

    It is the first time since the Australian Open in 2005 that a slam final will not feature one of Federer, Djokovic, Rafael Nadal or Andy Murray and the first time since the French Open in 2002 that both players are ranked outside the top 10.

    Cilic said: “It’s an amazing day for me. I feel amazing. To be able to play like this, I never dreamed of it. I think today was my best performance ever in my career.”

    Of the final, he added: “I think it’s going to be a sensational day for both of us. I’m extremely happy to be in the final for the first time. I’m just going to enjoy it, be happy and try to win.”

    Pundits have been pronouncing the end of the ’big four’ era for the last couple of years but it is only here that results have really backed that up for the first time.

    Federer made no excuses, saying: “It’s fairly simple: I think Marin played great. I maybe didn’t catch my best day, but I think that was pretty much it in a nutshell.

    “I was feeling good. I just think if I could have stayed longer with him in the first set, I felt like there was a proper match going on.

    “But him playing with the lead, he played with no fear and just full-out confidence. He served great when he had to. Credit to him for just playing incredible tennis.”

    With Djokovic already out of the tournament, Federer would certainly have seen this as a great chance to extend his record with an 18th title.

    The 33-year-old has won more matches than any other man this season but it is more than two years since his last slam win.

    “I’m just really disappointed after how well I have played this season, especially here also at the tournament,” said Federer. “I really felt like I could win this tournament.

    “I don’t need (another title) to be more happy or anything. But the moment itself, it would mean a lot.

    “I’ll give it a go again in Australia – I hope to be healthy there. I enjoy playing there. It’s been one of my most consistent slams. I hope to get another chance at it. I can’t do more than try really hard, which I’m doing.”

    Cilic thumped Tomas Berdych in the quarter-finals but nobody expected him to come out and do the same to Federer.

    The Croatian was serving so well and hitting the ball so cleanly and with so much power that Federer had no answer.

    From 40-0, the second seed was broken in the fourth game of the match and did not have a sniff of a break for the rest of the set.

    Cilic then began the second set by crunching a return to break serve again, and Federer could not hide his frustration at the way the match was going.

    Cilic’s only previous slam semi-final came in Australia four years ago, when he lost to Andy Murray, but there was no doubt in the 25-year-old’s mind that he belonged at this stage.

    The four-month doping ban he served last year, which caused him to miss this tournament, he said had made him tougher and allowed him to work on his game.

    Coach Goran Ivanisevic has also played a big part, in particular helping Cilic improve his serve and trust in his attacking game.

    It was working like never before, and the pro-Federer crowd were almost stunned into silence.

    Federer had fought back from two sets down in his quarter-final against Gael Monfils and he roused his fans by breaking the Cilic serve for the first time in the match to lead 2-0 in the third.

    But Cilic broke back immediately and the writing was on the wall when he broke again to lead 4-3.

    A few minutes later, Cilic stepped out to serve for the biggest win of his life and sent down three aces and a backhand winner.
    Wael Elyamani
    @Posted by
    writer and blogger, founder of CTV Egypt News .

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