By SI Wire
September 08, 2014

Kei Nishikori vs. Marin Cilic

Kei Nishikori of Japan and Marin Cilic of Croatia will play in the 2014 U.S. Open men’s final. Neither men has ever made it to a Grand Slam final.

Nishikori will become the first Asian-born man to play in a Grand Slam final, and Cilic will become the first Croatian since 2001.

The men have played seven times, and though Nishikori leads 5-2, Cilic won the last time they played each other in a Grand Slam, which was in the third round at the 2012 U.S. Open.

The match will be the first Grand Slam final​ without Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer or Rafael Nadal since 2005, when Marat Safin beat Lleyton Hewitt at the 2005 Australian Open. It will also be the first time there will be two first-time finalists since the French Open in 2005.

Prior to this year's tournament, the farthest Cilic has played in a Grand Slam was when he made the semifinals at the 2010 Australian Open.

To get to the final, Cilic has beat Roger Federer (semifinal), Tomáš Berdych (quarterfinal), Gilles Simon (fourth round), Kevin Anderson (third round), Illya Marchenko (second round) and Marcos Baghdatis (first round, retired). The semifinal win against Federer was Cilic's first win in six matches.

Nishikori's best finish prior to this year at the U.S. Open was reaching the fourth round in 2008. At last year's U.S. Open, he lost in the first round.

Novak Djokovic (semifinal), Stan Wawrinka (quarterfinal), Milos​ Raonic (fourth round), Leonardo Mayer (third round), Pablo Andujar (second round) and Wayne Odesnik (first round).​

Cilic has won 11 singles titles in his career. Nishikori has won five.

Regardless of whether Nishikori or Cilic win, this will be the first time since 1998 that all eight singles Grand Slam tournaments were won by different players. That has only happened twice before since the start of the Open era.​

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