If you are a regular follower of TenniShorts, you are no doubt aware that some of our picks for the 2014 US Open did not pan out. Most notably, we predicted that anyone not named Djokovic or Federer had a better chance of being struck by lightning than they had of winning the event. It turned out that there was indeed some lightning during the tournament, and Djokovic and Federer were among those who got struck.
We are of course referring to the two bolts of lightning named Marin Cilic and Kei Nishikori. To be clear, that isn’t to say that these two guys appeared out of nowhere from the heavens. They are both accomplished players who have done very well on the tour. Nishikori came into the open as the 10th seed, Cilic the 13th, and with their Open results they will both move up some in the rankings.
One of the things that was extremely impressive for both of these players is that they did all the heavy lifting themselves. In some tournaments, a top ranked player might have a really off day and get knocked out in an early round, making the pathway to the quarters, semis and finals a good deal easier. That did not happen at this year’s Open, so to get to the finals, Nishikori had to defeat #5 Milos Raonic, #3 Stan Wawrinka and the #1 Djokovic. In each of those matches, Nishikori displayed poise and grit, with the matches vs. Raonic and Wawrinka going 5 sets, and the Djokovic match going 4 sets. It could be that those tough matches took a toll on Nishikori, leaving him somewhat depleted going into the finals, which Cilic won handily, 6-3, 6-3, 6-3.
Then again, it could well be that Cilic was simply too good for Nishikori, along with anyone else who faced him for these two weeks. Cilic had to defeat #6 Tomas Berdych, the #2 Federer, and the #10 Nishikori to take the title. Perhaps not as difficult a road as Nishikori’s, but if you witnessed any of those matches, you saw that Cilic did not just win them; he dominated them. He was clearly playing at a level his opponents could not match.
So it is Marin Cilic who is Champion of the 2014 US Open. And while he may have been a bolt of lightning at this year’s Open, if Cilic can continue the level of play that he displayed here it won’t be long before he is storming the #1 ranking.