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Monday, 8 September 2014

US Open Men's Final 2014- Kei Nishikori v Marin Cilic (September 8th)

It is not the men's Final that the TV companies may have been hoping for and the first Grand Slam Final in the men's game that hasn't featured the big four for almost ten years.

You have to give both Kei Nishikori and Marin Cilic a lot of credit for reaching their first Slam Final simply because neither can claim to have had a 'lucky' path into the Final.

There have been times over the years that we have seen a Finalist who has perhaps taken advantage of a surprise exit of one of the top players, but both Nishikori and Cilic have earned wins over some of the biggest names in the sport to contest this Final.

I believe it will actually be a very entertaining match and one that will excite the fans fortunate to be at Arthur Ashe Stadium on Monday afternoon.

Serena Williams managed to win her 18th Grand Slam title with a comfortable win over Caroline Wozniacki by a scoreline that could have been a lot easier if she could have held service early in the match. All credit to Wozniacki for fighting hard until the end of the match, but she was outgunned and Serena Williams can get ready for the rest of the season and moving into 2015 still recognised as the best female player on the planet.

There will be an expectation for a stronger 2015 though after Serena Williams failed to reach the Quarter Final at any other Grand Slam, while I still have a sneaky feeling she can get a lot closer to the 24 Slams that Margaret Court won than some may feel. After missing a few years on the tennis circuit where Williams wasn't giving the sport full concentration and not playing a full schedule, I think Williams could have a fair bit left in the tank yet. Like Andre Agassi who was very competitive until his final year, Williams may just be able to put together a few more Slams just yet, especially if she is as dominant as she was the last few weeks.

Marin Cilic win 3-1 v Kei Nishikori: The Final between Marin Cilic and Kei Nishikori should feature plenty of nerves as both men may feel this is going to be the best chance they have to win a Grand Slam tournament.

Kei Nishikori holds the head to head edge after winning 5 of their previous 7 matches including twice earlier this season, but these two are split 1-1 at the US Open.

Nishikori won the first of those meetings in five sets back in 2010, but he needed to win two tie-breaks in the first four sets before coming through the final set 61. Marin Cilic earned a measure of revenge two yeas ago with a four set win in the Third Round, but has lost the next three matches against the Japanese star.

My feeling is that the court is going to favour Marin Cilic as it has been playing quick and he should have an edge when it comes to the serve and the power, although Nishikori will certainly feel he will win the majority of rallies that go six shots or more.

However, I think Nishikori is going to have to work much harder to retain serve and Cilic is likely to tee off both first and second serves considering his height. Nishikori doesn't get enough kick to make this uncomfortable for Cilic on return and the extra aggression should allow the Croatian player to produce 'first strike' tennis on the return.

I have a lot of respect for the defensive skills that Nishikori has, but he has also spent a lot of time on the court and I do wonder if he will have much fightback IF Cilic can get ahead in the match. He is a real shot-maker though and is capable of turning defence into offence very quickly too so I do imagine Nishikori will have his successes in the match.

The backhand rallies should be interesting to watch as I do feel both players believe that is their better wing, but the Cilic forehand is more likely to break down consistently than Nishikori's I believe. However, the aggressive return and the bigger serve could see more short balls played back to Cilic which he can then use to control the rallies.

The one factor that can't really be established is how each player handles their nerves, although both were stellar in their Semi Final wins over Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer. I just think Cilic can loosen up a little more by hitting the big serves and that might give him the edge in a four set match.

MY PICKS: Marin Cilic Win 3-1 @ 5.00 Bet Fred (1 Unit)

US Open Update: 21-17, + 12.56 Units (69 Units Staked, + 18.20% Yield)

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