Monday, September 8, 2014


Here we have Marin Cilic from Croatia, number 14 in the world, versus Kei Nishikori of Japan, number 10 in the world, both qualifying for the men's final at our beloved US Open.

The air is much cooler today, the wind picking up at times, and conditions overall are fitting for a great match.

So, here we go, Marin Cilic wins the coin toss and naturally chooses to serve first.


The usual back and forth and both players on serve.  Cilic finally breaks Nishikori in their 6th game, to advance at 4-2.  Cilic is hitting so big, with a wide swing, if only I could repeat that on my court!  (I, mere mortal, shall try that in my next clinic)  Okay, Marin proceeds to smoothly win on his serve to take the game score to 5-2.  

Tennis is such a tricky sport, even the scoring has its challenges, you can advance so quickly, and conversely fall behind just as far.

Nishikori is serving now to stay in the set. Only about 25 minutes have expired since the start.  Cilic gains the first point for 0-15, yet Nishikori tis it up.  Okay, 30-15 now.  Cilic just swings so beautifully, wonderful easy winner down the line.  30-30.  Okay, Cilic hits long for 40-30.  Great serve, Nishikori, Cilic unable to return, game!

Okay, Cilic serves. He really turns that shoulder to get his greta angled topspin.  15-0.  Cilic employs his net skills and Nishikori is on his knees.  Nice effort, but point to Cilic.  Another point loss, triple set point now at 40-0.  Cilic faults down the T.  Second serve.  Okay, such dominance, Nishikori unable to return.  Game and set to Cilic, 6-3 in 33 minutes!


Nishikori opens the set serving. 15-0. Cilic has won 19 of 20 points on serve.  Double fault.  Okay, 30-15 now.  40-15 now.  Must hold serve.  Great down the line by Nishikori. Game! This is an important game for Nishikori, and he holds.

Cilic serves and ace!  15-0.  Another ace! Cilic plays fast.  30-15 now.  Cilic really wants this.  He is purposeful and dominant. 40-15.  Won the last 23 of 25 points on serve.  Okay, Nishikori nets, game Cilic for 1-1.

Nishikori serves now. He is playing well, but he is playing defense.  Not good enough to beat a player like Cilic.  Each shot from Cilic is calculated and played with purpose. 0-40 here.  Hmmmm.  Fault.  Okay, he takes advantage of Cilic mild return hitting to far corner. 15-40.  Cilic nets again.  30-40.  Cilic is controlling the pacing, yet after a crosscourt rally Nishikori does an angles drop shot, deuce! Let!  Wow, Cilic just overpowers with speed and placement.  AD Cilic.  Plays to Nishikoris' backhand, and the ball lands in net.  An early break. Game to Cilic for 2-1.

Cilic serves.  He has 14 winners to Nishikori's 6 winners so far.  15-0.  Nishikori hts a down teh line passing shot winner!  15-15.  15-30 now.  30-40 now.  Ace! Deuce!  Great net coverage by Cilic.  Springing forward towards the net then angles for a winner.  He is simply out-hitting his opponent.  3-1 Cilic.

Nishikori is up now. 15-0.  Wow, Nishikori returns and returns with heavy deep angles. 30-0.   Cilic now nets, 40-0.  Rally, Cilic shanks out, game Nishikori! 2-3 now.

Cilic serves.  This is an amazing, tricky match.  Cilic serves at 129 mph. Ace! 15-0. Ace! Now 30-0.  Ace and Ace! 4-2, Cilic!!!!

Nishikori serves now.  Playing tougher. 15-0.  30-15 now.  Nishikori has a fabulous forehand, but so does Cilic, with so much more on his ball. 15-40 now.  One hour mark now.  Nishikori nets.  Game 5-2 Cilic!!!!!

Cilic serves.  Hits long, 0-15.  Serves wide.  A double fault, his first, 15-30.  Nishikori smells blood, hits hard, Cilic nets.  15-40.  Wow, fabulous wide hard tight serve.  30-40.  Another big serve to the T.  40-40.  Deuce.  Now AD Nishikori.  Okay, Cilic miss-hits the ball long and Nishikori retrieves one of his 2 breaks.  

Nishikori serves at 3-5.  0-15 now.  Fault.  Rally, 15-15 now.  Greta topspin backhand. Cilic hits long, 30-15.  Nishikori is gaining.  Oh no, nets the ball, 30-30.  Oh no again, Nishikori net san overhead, AD Cilic.  Wow, an incredible down the line winner with backspin to the backhand court.  Game and set to Cilic! 6-3. 


Okay, lucky Cilic opens the set serving. You always want to serve first, the scores will be to your greater benefit.  40-0. Three aces!!!  Nets the AD court serve.  Okay, in play, 40-15 now.  40-30 now.  Nishikori is playing hard.  Double fault!  Deuce! Fabulous rally, AD Cilic.  Deuce again.  AD Cilic. Game Cilic.  Holds his serve at 1-0.

Nishikori serves. I think because he is shorter at 5'10" versus Cilic at 6'6", Nishikori should hit flat with back spin and hit low.  Tough call. Do not play your opponent's game.  Cilic is high topspin.  Take a page form Cilic's book and be purposeful.  30-30. Okay, 40-30 now.  Deuce.  Cilic is dominating the points here.  Nishkori reacts.  Wow, ace! At 93 mph perfectly placed.  He has Cilic on the run! Holds at 1-1. Congratulations Nishikori!

Cilic serves.  0-15.  Fault first serve.  Okay, Nishikori nets the second serve return.  30-0.  30-15.  Nishikori traps Cilic in the backhand corner.  Nice lob form Cilic over Nishikori who comes in. 40-15.  Ace! 2-1 Cilic.

Okay, Nishikori is up to serve now. Fast return by Cilic, taking advantage of second serve.   Nishikori hits wide.  0-15.  Okay, 15-15 now.  Fault.  Wow, some of the best forehand topspin I have ever seen from Cilic.  Cilic has "spring in the legs, " Mary Carillo. 15-40. Cilic hits wide, 30-40.  Cilic traps Nishikori in the back hand corner again for a winner.  Game Cilic at 3-1.

Cilic serves.  15-0. Fault.  Second, gets to net and Nishikori lobs overhead. 15-15.  30-15 now.  Ace!  16 aces so far by Cilic, one by Nishikori.  40-15.  Nishikori hits down the line for a winner, working very hard for just one point, ("Unlike Cilic," says John McEnroe).  40-30.  Gets Nishikori from the net, game Cilic at 4-1!!!!

Nishikori serves now.  This is a tough match.  Cilic nets the ball, 15-0.  Oh my, too good, a down the line fast winner, 30-0.  One hour 38 minutes so far.  40-0.  Very nice.  Cilic nets the ball, game Nishikori!

Cilic serve at 4-2. Fault.  Play to the middle and then the angles.  Nishikori backs off from the service line and Cilic takes to the point at 15-0.  15-15 now.  Cilic is dominating teh baseline but Nishikori hits back. 15-30.  Wide serve at T. Good deep second serve, back and forth, tight Cilic points, 15-40.  Opportunity for Nishikori to get back on serve here.  Fault! The crowd cheers.  Great second serve with huge pace. 30-40.  Wow, ace to the T!  Deuce!  Cilic overhits a return long. AD Nishikori.  Fault.  Nishikori nets  the ball. Deuce.   Fault.  Second serve.  Wow, Cilic does a drop shot to deuce court, hits tape and Nishikori gets it but it plays long.  AD Cilic.  Fault.  Second serve down the line winner for Cilic! Game Cilic 5-2.

Nishikori serves to stay in the match.  0-15.  15-15 now.  Cilic has a better swing, and Nishikori plays the ball in Cilic's strike zone.  Okay, great shot from Nishikori to the side line.  30-15. 30-30.  Ace! Number 2 for the match! 40-30.  Fault.  Okay, Cilic returns long!

Cilic now serves for the championship, 5-3 right now.  Ace!  Nishikori flips over!  Ace again!  30-0.  40-0.  Championship point! Fault! Fault again!  Cilic's third for the match. 3 match points left. Fault.  Short rally, and Cilic WINS! 6-3, 6-3, 6-3.


courtesy Jason Szenes/EPA

                                             Your first Grand Slam, Marin Cilic!

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