Beating the Favorites: The Unexpected at US Open
US Open: Kei Nishikori, Japan, seeded 10th and Marin Cilic , Croatia, 16th made the headlines on Saturday when they startled the Tennis world after beating the potential finalists Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer in the flushing meadows securing their entry in the finals. Let’s see what future has in reserve for them.
Talking about the former, Nishikori has already made history, as he is the first Asian to enter a grand slam’s semi-finals and finals in the singles category. After a cyst removal surgery in August, the Japanese was not even sure whether he would be participating or not, but who would have known that he will be one of the finalists.
Talking about his performance in yesterday’s match, the match went on for 4 sets, but in less than 3 hours, he knew he had bewildered fans around the globe. The stats speak for themselves, 6-4,1-6,7-6(7-4), 6-3, shows that both of them held back nothing, but all one can say, “It was Nishikori’s Day”. With 13 aces and 120 total points in Djoker’s bag, who would say that he could lose, but the unforced errors worked in Nishikori’s favour. However, Nishikori had secured a huge no. of breakpoints which lead him to the victory.
When asked Djoker, he said “ I expected him to be able to play another five-setter because he had two days off. He hasn’t played before this tournament, so he had a big break. He could prepare himself for this tournament. He played some great tennis. I congratulate him for the effort. He was the better player today”. Djokovic also praised him on the improvements the Jap has made over the year, working hard on his forehand, developing a solid backhand and focusing on the short attack game.
Never the less, it’s safe to say that if his streak continues, an Asian will finally write his name as a Grand Slam victor.
Getting on to the guy who beat the legend, Marin Cilic also has beaten the odds and is on his way to giving his best shot on Monday morning in the final battle arena.
Claiming to have given his best performance ever, the 14th seeded Croat routed The Tennis Deity in just an hour and forty five minutes. Unlike Nishikori’s match, the stats, the spectators, all say the same thing, with his show, he was the clear winner today. Straight sets of 6-3, 6-4, 6-4. 13 aces, 43 winners and 91 total points, he didn’t even give the tennis marvel a chance who was aiming at another victory.
The 6’ 6’’ Croatian , with his perfect single hand backhand down the line , could actually be considered mocking Federer as it is his trademark shot .
On being asked about the match, Federer just said, “It’s exciting to have different faces [in a slam final] from time to time. I’m more surprised with Cilic, to be honest, because he’s older. There are significant differences in his game from the first time I played him when he was 17”. Shattered but not disappointed he said that will give Australian Open a good go.
All the same, with the likes of Murray, Djokovic and Federer, not being in the finals, it will obviously be some fresh and unforeseen tennis the fans will witness in the early hours of the 8 September. We wish both these amazing athletes the best and hope the day goes down as a celebrated one on the accounts of US OPEN.