Nishikori, Cilic seek glory in unlikely final

Sun Sep 7, 2014 1:40pm EDT
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By Simon Cambers

NEW YORK (Reuters - History, redemption and glory will be on the line when Japan’s Kei Nishikori and Croatia’s Marin Cilic battle for the U.S. Open men's title on Monday.

It will be the first time since the Australian Open final in 2005 that a men's grand slam final will not feature at least one of tennis's top three - Novak Djokovic, Rafa Nadal and Roger Federer.

Tenth seed Nishikori is the first Asian man to reach a grand slam singles final while Cilic is into his first final, less than 12 months after returning from a four-month suspension for what he said was inadvertently taking a banned supplement.

Before this year’s U.S. Open, Nishikori and Cilic boasted just one grand slam semi-final appearance between them, the Croat having made it to the last four at the Australian Open in 2010.

Nishikori leads their head-to-head meetings 5-2, including both their meetings this year, in Brisbane and Barcelona, while they split their two previous U.S. Open clashes.

But having beaten Djokovic and Federer respectively to reach their first grand slam final, they will be desperate to take chances on Monday.

“I hope there will be a lot of people watching (in Japan),” said Nishikori, who also beat third seed Stan Wawrinka and fifth seed Milos Raonic.

“I am a little bit surprised to make the final but am very happy to make another (piece) of history, the first time an Asian man is in the final. I hope I can win and make (more) history.”   Continued...

Marin Cilic of Croatia serves to Roger Federer of Switzerland during their semi-final match at the 2014 U.S. Open tennis tournament in New York, September 6, 2014. REUTERS/Ray Stubblebine