In perhaps the unlikeliest of match ups, tenth seeded Kei Nishikori will face 14th seeded Marin Cilic for the US Open Men’s championship this evening (photo from US Open).
It will be the first time since the 2005 Australian Open that a Grand Slam final hasn’t featured either Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer or Rafael Nadal.
“I am a little bit surprised for me to play the final,” said the 24-year-old Nishikori,the first man from Asia ever to play in a Grand Slam Final.
His coach is the American born Michael Chang who won the French Open title in 1989. Chang talked to Zee about the significance a Nishikori victory might have on Asian tennis.
“This year`s really been a breakthrough year for him and I wouldn`t be surprised if that really propels a lot of Asian tennis, particularly on the men`s side because women have really been doing well.
“It`s going to give them a lot of confidence to go out and play. A great example is what Venus and Serena have done for young American women.”
Nishikori moved from Japan to the United States at the age of 14 not knowing a word of English. Cilic at 6’6″ will have a significant height advantage over the 5’10” Nishikori.
“Taller guys have certain things that make it a little easier for them, the serve, but smaller guys have the ability to be a little quicker around the court, a little more agile a little more nimble. There`s always different ways to neutralize power,” said the 5’9″ Chang.
The finals will take place tonight at 5 Eastern Time.
You can read about what Nishikori had to overcome to get into tonight’s final on Zee.