Marathon man Nishikori stuns Djokovic to reach final

Sat Sep 6, 2014 6:25pm EDT
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By Steve Keating

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Marathon man Kei Nishikori secured a monumental upset by sweating out a 6-4 1-6 7-6(4) 6-3 win over world number one Novak Djokovic at the U.S. Open on Saturday to become the first Asian man to reach a grand slam final.

In a remarkable display of endurance, Nishikori followed up punishing five-set wins over third seed Stan Wawrinka and fifth seed Milos Raonic with an even more extraordinary effort, grinding down the top-ranked Djokovic in two hours, 52 minutes on a sweltering Arthur Ashe Stadium court.

While the rest of the tennis world was left stunned, Nishikori said he was only a little bit surprised to have denied Djokovic a fifth successive trip to the Flushing Meadows final.

"I was ready to play ... these kinds of players always," said the 10th seeded Nishikori, the first Japanese man since Ichiya Kumagae in 1918 to play in the U.S. Open semi-finals. "Especially this year I have been playing really well. I have been beating those top guys already.

"I was playing really well and really aggressive, and didn't wait for the ball. Even the opponent Novak, I was playing my tennis.

"It’s just amazing, an amazing feeling beating the number one player.

"It was really tough conditions today, felt a little bit heavy and humid too but I guess I love to play long matches and I hope I can recover well for the final."

The 24-year-old Japanese awaits 14th seed Marin Cilic in Monday's final. Cilic defeated world number two and five-times U.S. Open champion Roger Federer in Saturday's other semi-final.   Continued...

Sep 6, 2014; New York, NY, USA;  Kei Nishikori (JPN) after beating Novak Djokovic (SRB) on day thirteen of the 2014 U.S. Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports