CROATIA’S Marin Cilic completed a remarkable turnaround in fortunes by sealing the US Open title with a straight-sets victory over Kei Nishikori in yesterday’s final on the Arther Ashe Stadium in New York.
World No12 Cilic brutally dispatched Japan’s Nishikori 6-3, 6-3. 6-3 in one hour and 54 minutes at Flushing Meadows to secure his first grand slam crown.
The 25-year-old hit 17 aces and dropped only one service game en route to becoming his nation’s first winner of one of tennis’ four majors since 2001 when his coach Goran Ivanisevic prevailed on Centre Court at Wimbledon.
The clash was also noteworthy for being the first grand slam final since January 2005 which did not feature one of Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer or Rafael Nadal.
Rewind twelve months and life was very different for Cilic who was serving a ban after testing positive for nikethamide in April.
The initial nine-month sanction was reduced to four on appeal after Cilic claimed he had inadvertently consumed the banned substance in an over-the-counter glucose tablet bought in a pharmacy.
Both players surged into the final after beating imposing semi-final opponents, with Cilic clinically defeating five-time champion Federer while Nishikori stunned Djokovic to become Japan’s first grand slam singles finalist.