Tuesday, September 9, 2014

U.S. Open Day 15: Cilic coasts to first major crown

Marin Cilic practices with Novak
Djokovic at night at Indian Wells
in March. Photo by Paul Bauman
   Men's final -- No. 14 seed Marin Cilic of Croatia dominated No. 10 Kei Nishikori of Japan 6-3, 6-3, 6-3 in the first Grand Slam final for both players.
   Cilic, 6-foot-6 (1.98 meters), missed last year's U.S. Open while serving a four-month doping suspension. He said he inadvertently ingested a stimulant in a glucose tablet bought at a pharmacy.
   Nishikori, 5-foot-10 (1.78 meters), was trying to become the first man from Asia to win a major singles title.  
   Fast facts -- This was the first time in 40 years that a U.S. Open finalist failed to win at least four games in a set in the title match.
   This was also the first Grand Slam final since the 2005 Australian Open without Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer or Rafael Nadal, who did not defend his U.S. Open title because of a right wrist injury.
   Cilic earned $3 million and rose seven places in the world rankings to No. 9, matching his career high in 2010. Nishikori pocketed $1.45 million and improved three notches to a career-high No. 8.
   Cilic became the first man ranked outside the top 10 to win a Grand Slam singles title since Gaston Gaudio in the 2004 French Open.
   Both finalists have been coached since late last year by former players with one Grand Slam singles title. Goran Ivanisevic, who works with countryman Cilic, won Wimbledon in 2001. Michael Chang, who tutors Nishikori, captured the 1989 French Open at 17 years, 3 months. He remains the youngest man to win a Grand Slam singles title.   
   The score of every set in the men's and women's singles finals was the same. Serena Williams defeated Caroline Wozniacki 6-3, 6-3 on Sunday.
   Quote -- Cilic, on his suspension: "I just used the positive parts, which, you know, made me tougher."

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