98 US Open Tennis Winners
In a bizarre twist of the men’s tennis world, Marin Cilic was crowned the 2014 US Open champion. Everybody celebrates differently but after clenching his second match point Cilic ran into the stands to engage his box in a group hug. He defeated the #10 seed Kei Nishikori 6-3, 6-3, 6-3. His giant serve just couldn’t be stopped and Nishikori was left defenseless.
This win comes almost a year after Cilic tested positive for a stimulant and was not able to play in the 2013 US Open due to a multiple month ban. What a way to return to the US Open.
Kei Nishikori was not without his chances during this match and even apologized to the crowd for not being able to hoist the trophy in the end. During the third and final set, Nishikori had three break point opportunities. In two of those opportunities he had a look at Cilic’s second serve but just couldn’t convert the points. Regardless, Kei Nishikori has had a great tournament and there is plenty for him to feel good about. En route to the finals Nishikori took out Raonic, Wawrinka, and most notably Djokovic. Coming right off of a foot injury not much was expected of him and he shattered those expectations and became a household name in the process. Japan is certainly proud of all that Nishikori has accomplished, being the first Japanese man to make a grand slam semifinal and final.
Contrary to what others say I guess defense doesn’t win championships. The not very well known Marin Cilic won due to his aggressive serve and complemented this with a strong baseline game. He did a great job of keeping the ball out of Nishikori’s strike zone, he just didn’t give him any chances. Cilic will now be able to join the elite club of tennis players to hold a grand slam title.
Both players will enjoy a jump in the ATP rankings following this match. Kei Nishikori moves up to #8 and Marin Cilic will move to #12 in the world.
What a crazy way to end the year, not only did I not expect either of these players to make the championship, but I thought given the matchup that Nishikori would squash Cilic and take the trophy back home to Japan. It used to be that the men’s tennis world was defined by consistency; the same three players made the finals for nine years in a row. But the grand slams this year tell a different story and I think I’m ok with that. Stan Wawrinka won the Australian Open and now Marin Cilic is the unlikely winner of the US Open. Maybe next year there will be even more variety. This new mix of players couldn’t have come at a better time. Men’s tennis was starting to get boring and I look forward to seeing what players make a name for themselves in the next grand slam season.
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