by Courtney Day
History was made at the U.S. Open Men’s final in Flushing Meadows, NY on Sept 8. According to atpworldtour.com, for the first time since 1997, the Men’s final consisted of two Grand Slam first-timers: Marin Cilic and Kei Nishikori.
Both men were ranked outside of the world’s top tier with Cilic fourteenth and Nishikori tenth. Since 2005, there had not been a player outside of the Big 4—Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray—to compete in a Grand Slam final. According to atpworldtour.com, this streak has come to an end.
Though they are talented players, it took monumental upsets for Cilic and Nishikori to reach the final, both having to defeat two of the top players in the world. In the quarterfinal round, Cilic took down Federer, the number two ranked player in the world and a 17-time Grand Slam Champion. Nishikori also defeated Djokovic, who is currently ranked number one in the world.
Ultimately, Cilic was victorious, defeating Nishikori in under two hours, winning in straight sets of 6–3, 6–3, 6–3. With the reign of the Big 4, men’s tennis has drawn criticism for its lack of fresh faces at the highest level of the sport. This tournament, however, marks a new era for the sport and a chance for new champions to emerge.