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Added September 9th, 2014 by Ian

14th-seeded Marin Cilic captures U.S. Open

Croatian tennis player Marin Cilic went into the U.S. as the 14thseeded male tennis player in the world with the odds in the online tennis betting of winning the tournament stacked against him at 66-1. Two weeks later those who bet on him cashed in big time as he beat Kei Nishikori of Japan quite handily by scores of 6-3. 6-3. And 6-3 in New York City on September 8.

Hardly anybody expected the 25-year-old to win the event, including Cilic himself. Cilic wasn’t the lowest seeded player to win the U.S. Open, but he was probably the least expected to take it. In fact, the odds of a Cilic vs Nishikori final were very low indeed. When Andre Agassi won the event back in 1994 he was unseeded and when Pete Sampras captured it in 2002 he was seeded 17th.

However, these were two top tennis players who had simply slipped down the rankings. Cilic was in the same tournament as established tennis greats such as Andy Murray, Roger Federer, and Novak Djokovic and nobody realistically thought he had a chance to emerge victorious. Nishikori never got on track in the final as he converted just one out of nine break points and also lost his serve a total of five times.

The match was more or less decided by the time the middle of the second set rolled around and Cilic went on to win his first-ever Grand Slam title. Meanwhile, his opponent Kei Nishikori was the first Asian male tennis player to participate in a Grand Slam final. Nishikori played as well as he could, but Cilic simply caught fire at the U.S. Open as he beat Nishikori, Tomas Berdych, and Roger Federer all in straight sets. This means the Croatian became just the fourth player un U.S. Open history to play through the quarterfinals, semifinals and finals without losing a single set.

Nishikori was also impressive as he beat fifth-seeded Milos Raonic, third-seeded Stan Wawrinka and the top-ranked Novak Djokovic to reach the final. Cilic took 123 out of 147 first-serve points though for an impressive average of 84 per cent. He had played in just one Grand Slam semi-final matchup before making the U. S. Open final and the last time he was ranked in the top 10 came back in 2010 when he held the number nine spot for six weeks following a strong showing at that year’s Australian Open.

Last October Cilic had slipped all the way down the rankings to number 47 after he failed a drug test for banned substances. Cilic received a two-year ban for his indiscretion, but it was eventually cut down to just four months. Since returning to the court Cilic won a couple of minor tournaments and also reached the quarterfinal stage of Wimbledon.

 
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