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US Open 2018: Nishikori Edges Čilić in Five Sets

Marin Čilic in action against Kei Nishikori (US Open/Official)

Marin Čilić has been knocked out of the US Open by Japan’s Kei Nishikori in the quarterfinals in Arthur Ashe Stadium on Wednesday. 

In what was a repeat of the 2014 US Open final, Čilić this time went down in five sets 2-6, 6-4, 7-6, 4-6, 6-4 in just over four hours.

Despite hitting 19 aces, a total of 7 double-faults and 70 unforced errors did not help Čilić’s cause today.

The Croatian opened strong with two aces in a row and he would capitalise on the first break point opportunity of the match in the fourth game to jump to a 3-1 lead thanks to a number of unforced errors from Nishikori. 

Čilić was starting to find his grove, forcing the Japanese No.21 seed into a number of errors and it was no surprises that a backhand unforced error would gift Čilić another break and the opening set. 

Čilić was first to break in the second set when at 15-40 in the fifth game Nishikori made a forehand volley unforced error. He would break straight back in the next game as the Croatian made a series of unforced errors and break again to take the second set 6-4. 

A forehand volley error at the start of the third set gave Nishikori the break. Čilić had the chance to level at 2-2 with a break point but a forehand winner from Nishikori denied him. Čilić would have two more break opportunities in the next game but he could not convert either.

Čilić would finally get the break back in the next game, breaking Nishikori to love to level at 4-4.

(US Open/Official)

The set headed into a tie-break as neither player could find another break and it was Nishikori who would edge it 7-5 with a backhand winner.

The fourth set would go on serve until Čilić got the decisive break when he was leading 4-3, converting his second break point chance and he would take the match to a deciding 5th set.

(US Open/Official)

Čilić’s 6th double-fault at the start of the fourth game of the final set was the start of a nightmare game for the No.7 seed as he would hand Nishikori three break point chances. After saving two of them, a forehand error from Čilić gifted the break to his opponent.

In what was a seesaw match throughout, Čilić would once again get the break back when Nishikori’s backhand error enabled Čilić to get back to 4-3 after saving a break point that game before.

Nishikori would have the final say with a break to win the match and record his 9th head-to-head win over Čilić in their 15th encounter.

Nishikori will play the winner of the match between Novak Djoković and John Millman in the semifinal. 


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