For the first time in years, all the big stars (minus Murray who had back surgery) played the BNP Paribas Masters in Paris. Nadal and Djokovic were fighting for the number 1 ranking whereas Federer, Wawrinka, Tsonga and co were all fighting for a qualification to the ATP Finals in London.
For the first time in the tournament history, the eight quarter-finalists were qualified for the ATP Finals in London. Djokovic defeated the defending champion David Ferrer in the final, and clinched his 40th career title.

Marin Cilic

One week before the start of the US Open, I did attend the Optima Open, the Belgian stop of the ATP Champions Tour. Goran Ivanisevic was taking part to the tournament, and after his match against Pat Cash, he talked a bit about his protege Marin Cilic, said Cilic was playing really well and that he had high expectations for the US Open. I thought, well we gonna have a Djokovic-Federer final, and Cilic could maybe reach the last eight.

I’ve watched Cilic live more than once (at practice with Djokovic, Ivanisevic and Becker at Roland Garros this year, at Bercy last year after his doping ban, at Roland Garros in 2012) and never thought he could be one day a Grand Slam champ: too nonchalant, lack of focus, one-dimensional playing style… How wrong I was.

As for Nishikori, I’ve watched him playing twice at Bercy last year (against Benneteau and Tsonga), and at practice with Michael Chang at Roland Garros this year.
Nishikori is a player I enjoy watching: quick feet, good hands but he clearly lacks power and is sometimes too naive in his shots’ selection.

Cilic and Nishikori met in the final on Monday and the match was even more one-sided than the Williams-Wozniacki final the day before. Nishikori was paralyzed with nerves, whereas Cilic was ready to jump on the opportunity to capture a Slam, and became the unlikeliest winner of a men’s Grand Slam title in a decade, as New York Times wrote.

What did you think of the final? Do you think Cilic will be a one Slam wonder or this major win will be first of many? What about Nishikori, will he bounced back? Please share your thoughts.

Here some pictures of the final:

US Open 2014 Kei Nishikori vs. Marin Cilic final matchup

US Open 2014 Kei Nishikori vs. Marin Cilic final matchup

US Open 2014 Kei Nishikori vs. Marin Cilic final matchup
Read More

Kei Nishikori
Kei Nishikori’s road to the final
Round Opponent Score
R1 Wayne Odesnik 6-2 6-4 6-2
R2 Pablo Andujar 6-4 6-1 ret
R3 Leonardo Mayer 6-4 6-2 6-3
R4 Milos Raonic 4-6 7-6 6-7 7-5 6-4
QF Stan Wawrinka 3-6 7-5 7-6 6-7 6-4
SF Novak Djokovic 6-4 1-6 7-6 6-3
Marin Cilic’s road to the final
Round Opponent Score
R1 Marcos Baghdatis 6-3 3-1 ret
R2 Illya Marchenko 7-6 6-2 6-4
R3 Kevin Anderson 6-3 3-6 6-3 6-4
R4 Gilles Simon 5-7 7-6 6-4 3-6 6-3
QF Tomas Berdych 6-2 6-4 7-6
SF Roger Federer 6-3 6-4 6-4
Kei Nishikori – Marin Cilic head to head
Year Tournament Surface Winner Score
2014 Barcelona QF Clay Kei Nishikori 6-1 6-3
2014 Brisbane QF Hard Kei Nishikori 6-4 5-7 6-2
2013 Memphis QF Hard Kei Nishikori 6-4 6-2
2012 US Open R32 Hard Marin Cilic 6-3 6-4 6-7 6-3
2011 Chennai R32 Hard Kei Nishikori 4-6 7-6 6-2
2010 US Open R64 Hard Kei Nishikori 5-7 7-6 3-6 7-6 6-1
2008 Indian Wells R128 Hard Marin Cilic 6-2 6-4

Who do you think will win, Nishikori or Cilic? One thing is sure: a new Grand Slam champ will be crowned.

Kei Nishikori

Second five-sets marathon in three days for Kei Nishikori who defeated Australian Open champion Stan Wawrinka 3-6 7-5 7-6 6-7 6-4 to become the first Japanese man in 81 years to make a Grand slam semi-final.

Kei Nishikori

Kei Nishikori

Kei Nishikori
Read More

Kei Nishikori had cyst removed in foot and is questionable for US Open, but here’s a sneak peek at the outfit he’ll compete in (if he plays):

Kei Nishikori 2014 US Open outfit