Marin Cilic has won his maiden grand slam title, accounting for Kei Nishikori in the US Open men’s final on Tuesday morning (AEST). The straight-sets victory capped a stunning return to the ATP tour for the 25-year-old, having recently served a fourth-month suspension for testing positive to a banned substance.
Having beaten five-times champion Roger Federer to reach the final, Cilic was similarly dominant in lifting the trophy at Flushing Meadows. The Croatian dropping just nine games throughout the contest, winning 6-3, 6-3, 6-3 in under two hours.
It was the first time a Croatian has triumphed in a grand slam since countryman and coach Goran Ivanisevic beat Pat Rafter as a Wimbledon wildcard back in 2001. Notably the final was also the first grand slam decider not featuring Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic or Andy Murray since Marat Safin beat Lleyton Hewitt at the 2005 Australian Open.
The 14th seed broke Nishikori five times and held every one of his service games on the back of 17 aces to one and blasted 38 winners to overpower his Japanese counterpart. Cilic was full of praise for his coach in the aftermath of his achievement and hoped the win would go a long way to restoring his reputation.
“Everything I was working for and dreaming of came together today,” Cilic said. “The most important thing that he (Ivanisevic) brings to me is the joy in tennis and I had lots of fun over here.”
Meanwhile Serena Williams produced a similar scoreline to defeat Caroline Wozniacki in the women’s final to claim a remarkable sixth US Open title in a row. The world No.1 was simply too strong for the Dane, rattling off 29 winners to four in the 6-3, 6-3 result.
The title brings Williams’ career grand slam tally to 18 – equal with compatriot legends Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert on the all-time leaderboard. The 32-year-old now sits in equal fourth, one behind Helen Wills Moody. Steffi Graf claimed 22 titles throughout her illustrious career, while Aussie Margaret Court sits top of the list with 24 grand slams.