So there we go. That was a fun, though not brilliant match, with a thriller of an ending - join me in an hour for the night session!
Marin Cilic - Kei Nishikori
US Open men - 5 September 2018
US Open – Follow the Tennis match between Marin Cilic and Kei Nishikori live with Eurosport. The match starts at 17:00 on 5 September 2018. Our live coverage lets you follow all the key moments as they happen.
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Cilic 6-2 4-6 (5)6-7 6-4 4-6 Nishikori -
Another different between the two is that Nishikori has the confidence to commit to attack, and he finds himself at 0-15 after a sapping rally sees Cilic go long. Nishikori then does likewise when he needn't have done ... but then blocks back a huge serve and Cilic nets coming in! Huge point coming up, and Nishikori reads the change-up serve out wide, returning another first serve and Cilic nets! AND WHAT A RETURN FROM NISHIKORI TO SEAL THE MATCH! HE CHUCKS EVERYTHING AT A FOREHAND, AND HOW HE'S EARNED THIS! He started playing dreck, fought back from a set and a break down, allowed his man back in, then attacked the decider to illustrate why his record in them is so good. He plays Millman or Djokovic next, and will have to be much better assuming the latter wins, but in the meantime, well done him. And what a day for Japan!
Cilic 6-2 4-6 (5)6-7 6-4 4-5 Nishikori -
Nishikori is the better player now. His groundstrokes are cleverer because his angles are better, he moves better and is moving better ... but Cilic has that serve. He'll need it to stay in the competition.
Cilic 6-2 4-6 (5)6-7 6-4 4-4 Nishikori -
Nishikori earns himself a break -point, so Cilic serves an ace - course he does - then closes.
Cilic 6-2 4-6 (5)6-7 6-4 3-4 Nishikori -
After Cilic goes long with a forehand, he furiously thrashes the offending ball high into the stand; that'll learn it. And, McEnroe-style, a winner follows ... but he can't build on it because Nishikori's serving is too good ... until a double-fault makes it 40-30 and a backhand miss gives deuce. AND A BELTING RETURN THEN A BACKHAND MISS GIVES CILIC THE BREAK-BACK! Five minutes ago he was nearly gone, now we're right back at it! He should smash balls into the posh bit more often.
Cilic 6-2 4-6 (5)6-7 6-4 2-4 Nishikori -
Nishikori looks really confident now, getting to 0-15 and then challenging when a ball is incorrectly called out in a rally that he's controlling. Cilic then gets to 30-15 but Nishikori's movement disconcerts him and he double-faults; they end up at deuce after Cilic nets a drop, surprised by the return of what looked like a service winner. From there, Nishikori earns and misses a break-point, after which Cilic removes him from the equation to hold. He's not giving it away.
Cilic 6-2 4-6 (5)6-7 6-4 1-4 Nishikori -
Nishikori's doign really well at rushing Cilic, who - at the moment - isn't dextrous enough to beat his scurrying an angles. He holds to 15, and needs just two more games for the semeis.
Cilic 6-2 4-6 (5)6-7 6-4 1-3 Nishikori -
But a double-fault and an unforced error gives Nishikori 0-30 ... what has Cilic got? A long forehand, that's what Cilic has got! But he saves the first two break-points, the second with a frankly dangerous forehand, so Nishikori comes in, returns, and Cilic nets! Is that the decisive blow!
Cilic 6-2 4-6 (5)6-7 6-4 1-2 Nishikori -
And there's a love-hold for Nishikori; apparently he has, or did have, the best final-set win percentage in the game.
Cilic 6-2 4-6 (5)6-7 6-4 1-1 Nishikori -
We might just have, for the first time, both players playing well simultaneously. At the moment its manifesting in easy holds, rather than quality rallies, but the prospect is there.
Cilic 6-2 4-6 (5)6-7 6-4 0-1 Nishikori
Good response from Nishikori, who has to play some rallies in holding to 15 and looks really assured in so doing.
Cilic 6-2 4-6 (5)6-7 6-4 Nishikori -
Cilic is finding this hard - he can't find a first serve in going down 15-30 but a slinger down the middle redress the imbalance. An ace then follows, a monster second down the middle behind it, and a few shots later that's the set! A decider is upon us!
Cilic 6-2 4-6 (5)6-7 5-4 Nishikori -
Good gear from Nishikori, who holds to 15 and impressively so, an oblique ace out wide and backhand winner particularly noteworthy. Cilic will have to serve for it.
Cilic 6-2 4-6 (5)6-7 5-3 Nishikori -
A love consolidation, finished with a 133mph ace out wide, and Cilic is back playing nicely.
Cilic 6-2 4-6 (5)6-7 4-3 Nishikori -
As I was saying, two errors from Nishikori give Cilic 0-30 and another hands him three break-points! He dictates the next rally too, but a fine backhand from inside the backhand corner gives Nishikori respite ... but momentarily! Cilic gets on top and Nishikori spoons a forehand! We're on for a decider, and this is developing into something exceedingly compelling.
Cilic 6-2 4-6 (5)6-7 3-3 Nishikori -
Basically there's not much going on here. It looks like we're headed for another breaker, only without the drama in the getting there. Cilic holds to 15.
Cilic 6-2 4-6 (5)6-7 2-3 Nishikori -
This is now a normal match, with lots of holds and serve dictating.
Cilic 6-2 4-6 (5)6-7 2-2 Nishikori -
My system crashed, but Cilic held.
Cilic 6-2 4-6 (5)6-7 1-2 Nishikori -
Cilic goes on the attack and arranges himself break-point, but Nishikori cracks a forehand onto the baseline thereby eliciting the error. Cilic is playing really well now, and more bodacious groundstrokes give him advantage. Nishikori, though, hangs tough and cleans up via an advantage of his own.
Cilic 6-2 4-6 (5)6-7 1-1 Nishikori -
As I was saying, Cilic rushes through a love-hold.
Cilic 6-2 4-6 (5)6-7 0-1 Nishikori -
Cilic makes Nishikori fight to get on the board, but he does so to 30 nonetheless. I quite fancy a break next up...
Cilic 6-2 4-6 (5)6-7 Nishikori -
On we go.
Cilic 6-2 4-6 (5)6-7 Nishikori -
Ah, they are now having ten minutes. Jokers.
Cilic 6-2 4-6 6-7 Nishikori -
It's not hot enough for a break, so Nishikori goes for a slash.
Cilic 6-2 4-6 (5)6-7 Nishikori -
Nishikori has the advantage of racking the first set-point, and he moves about as Cilic serves into the net, befuddled. Next, a short second go, and Nishikori spanks it down the line via backhand! This is what Shuzo Matsuoka did to Stefan Edberg a very long time ago.
Cilic 6-2 4-6 6-6 (5-5) Nishikori -
Nishikori is first in with the mini-break thanks to an acute backhand, but Cilic quickly reels him back in then earns one of his own thanks to a chunky inside-out forehand. Then serves a double, as Nishikori skips in and distracts him just enough to elicit the error. And look at that! Another double follows immediately afterwards! Cilic, though, plays a fine recovery point and it's 5-5.
Cilic 6-2 4-6 6-6 Nishikori -
And now it's Nishikori with the love-hold, and we have ourselves a breaker. You've got to fancy Cilic, given his first serve and Nishikori's second...
Cilic 6-2 4-6 6-5 Nishikori -
A quick and easy love-hold for Cilic and this is now the match I thought it would be, two well-matched players wrestling for supremacy and taking their time over it.
Cilic 6-2 4-6 5-5 Nishikori -
A huge game for Nishikori, who takes a steadier to love. For the first time, "the guys" might be playing at roughly similar level.
Cilic 6-2 4-6 5-4 Nishikori -
Cilic is back, Cilic is back, hello hello! He holds to 15 and clenches his fist in celebration. He's not changed much, he's just playing better and Nishikori is playing worse.
Cilic 6-2 4-6 4-4 Nishikori -
Well here we go! Cilic gets to 0-40 with some monstrous returning and only needs one go at rustling the break-back! What we're seeing here is why these lads aren't up with the very best: they can't maintain a high level for as long as those who are.
Cilic 6-2 4-6 3-4 Nishikori -
Cilic is busting his ass trying to get something going ant fights back from 0-30 down to win the game, sealed with an ace.
Cilic 6-2 4-6 2-4 Nishikori -
Oh gosh. Nishikori sticks an easy volley into the top of the net to give Cilic 0-30; the swing is swinging, and Cilic has jumped on, getting to 15-40. Give away the t-serve, urges Courier, you can still get it, you're plenty tall - cover the wide. Down comes the t, but the return is tame and seconds later it's deuce. Cilic will feel this set and match slipping away now - he's earned opportunities these last two games then failed to attack them with suitable conviction.But Nishikori is no longer zoned, and we go back and forth with deuce-advantage - Cilic misses more chances to get after that weak second serve - and on the seventh, comes the hold. Cilic perpetrates violence upon his racket, which will teach it.
Cilic 6-2 4-6 2-3 Nishikori -
Cilic's serve is sort of back, his backhand too - but Nishikori is still responding to them far better than at the start of this match. Still it's a hold to 15, and Cilic will take that all day long.
Cilic 6-2 4-6 1-3 Nishikori -
Nishikori is showing no sign of stepping off, that glorious backhand earning him 40-15. So Cilic pastes a return winner - he's got to try something - and after deuce is suddenly break-point up. Nishikori saves it though, then serves out, and the force remains with him. I really like how he's been playing lately - his forehand is much improved - and he'll need to drop for Cilic to improve because relatively speaking, he's a blunt instrument.
Cilic 6-2 4-6 1-2 Nishikori -
Is Cilic back? He batters through a love-game to get himself cosy again, and will look to attack when Nishikori serves after change of ends.
Cilic 6-2 4-6 0-2 Nishikori -
Nishikori consolidates, and is looking very good out there. He's now serving and returning well, which is allowing him to do all the other things well too.
Cilic 6-2 4-6 0-1 Nishikori -
Nishikori is on one! He gets to 0-30 but then Cilic levels ... only for Nishikori to unfurl a beauteous backhand pass, cross-court - after returning a murderous first serve. Cilic can see this slipping, and it's slipped! Nishikori eases a gigantic backhand down the line, and look at him!
The players have a little rest.
Cilic 6-2 4-6 Nishikori -
Nishikori's second serve is a joke, but at 15-0 Cilic doesn't even need to attack it because it goes into the net. It's soon 15-30 ... a service winner redresses the balance ... and look at that! Two quick points, and we're level! Nishikori did really well there to change tactics on the hoof, staying further back to return and looking to attack more, but more than anything he's just playing better and getting his first serves in.
Cilic 6-2 4-5 Nishikori -
Ooooh yes sir! At 15-0 Nishikori intimates power then changes grip for a luscious drop. And he maintains pressure to force 30-40 - he's in the ascendancy now, and will want to try and get this set boxed before undertaking a breaker with so humungous a server. And Cilic sends down a double! Nishikori will serve for it in two shakes of a lamb's tail!
Cilic 6-2 4-4 Nishikori -
Do we have ourselves a ball-game? Nishikori holds comfortably, and looks to be running into a vein just as we engulf the business end.
Cilic 6-2 4-3 Nishikori -
But look at Kei Nishikori! Perhaps Cilic mentally relaxes, perhaps not, but either way it's soon 0-40! Cilic then starts banging, but this is what I expected to see! Nishikori scurries, returns intelligently, and eventually his better hands prevail, a slice encouraging an error.
Cilic 6-2 4-2 Nishikori -
I'd not be surprised to see Cilic hit Nishikori here, and shonuff it's soon 15-30 and second serve. A dribbler duly allows Cilic to dictate the point, and though they end up at the net, giving Nishikori a chance to finish it, he cannot. Cilic then takes the second of his break-points, and this set is nearly did.
Cilic 6-2 3-2 Nishikori -
This is some serving display from Cilic, who races to 40-15. But then Nishikori drops back and the change of view encourages a double; he must be reading this blog at change of endz. Nonetheless he's still to win a point off a Cilic first serve and when another one booms down, off they go for a little sit-down.
Cilic 6-2 2-2 Nishikori -
This is better from Nishikori. At 15-0, he handles a backhand cross-court return, comes in, and finishes the point. He holds to 15, but will have noted that Cilic got on the board by monstering a powderpuff second serve.
Cilic 6-2 2-1 Nishikori -
Er, no he can't. Cilic is absolutely flying, serving big, hitting in, and now coming in when Nishikori at least made to change things, looking to get nearer to the baseline.
Cilic 6-2 1-1 Nishikori -
Courier explains that Cilic loves to play in metronomic manner, which explains why he's good enough to beat most - his raw materials are better than most - but not the best. But Nishikori holds easily, which is a start. Can he find something on the return?
Cilic 6-2 1-0 Nishikori -
Cilic sends Nishikori scurrying to hither and yon, not going for lines but for corners, until the opportunity arises for a bousting overhead, which he dematerialises into the deuce court. Another easy hold, and Nishikori needs to change something - he's only won three points on Cilic's serve. Maybe he should stand further back, like Nadal did with Thiem last night, I dont know.
Cilic 6-2 Nishikori -
Nishikori is in all sorts here. He finds himself 30-40 down, then rattles an ace down the middle ... before Cilic was ready. You've got to laugh. The next serve goes into the net, and when the rally finally starts, a backhand follows it there and that's a very easy and excellent set to the Croatian! He has 13 winners to Nishikori's four, though neither is having a good first-serve day.
Cilic 5-2 Nishikori -
Cilic is playing way better than I've seen him play in ages; Nishikori can't handle the serve or the forehand, never mind the serve-forehand combo move. He holds to 15 and will fancy his chances of wrapping it up via double-break.
Cilic 4-2 Nishikori -
Nishikori needed that, that being a love-hold. But he's yet to make any kind of impression on the Cilic serve, and he's running out of chances so to do in this set.
Cilic 4-1 Nishikori -
Nishikori just cant get going here, but that's in significant part due to how well Cilic is playing. He consolidates easily.
Cilic 3-1 Nishikori -
Cilic gets 0-30 and then at 15-30 Nishikori opts not to challenge when a ball that bounces out is not called as such. In the process he offers a gimme and Cilic pounds the forehand winner that gives him two break-points.He only needs one, whacking away until his man frames one, and he's playing very nicely indeed, thank you for asking.
Cilic 2-1 Nishikori -
Love-hold for Cilic, who's warm. Incidentally, I'm really enjoying Jim Courier's co-commentary - he's doing exactly what he's meant to be doing, explaining the tactical, physical and mental elements that you can only appreciate if you're a player.
Cilic 1-1 Nishikori -
At 30-0 Nishikori makes two unforced and unnecessary errors, and needs to go via deuce for his hold.
Cilic 1-0 Nishikori -
At 30-15, the first proper rally of the match with both men opening their shoulders on the forehand side ... and Cilic nails a winner down the line, then another, to go with the two he's already hit.
Our players are ready, and Cilic will serve first.
Mark Petchey just called Tim Henman "Henners". It's been a good run, but I'm afraid tennis is now over.
The players are nearly upon us (as it were).
I really fancy Nishikori for this one, if his stamina holds up. I'm not sure Cilic has the tools to handle his backhand, if he's on, and Cilic hasn't played that well so far this tournament.
Nishikori has the better head-to-head record, but has found the heat trying in this match. Though his coach will have some advice to offer on that count.
Unlike the Osaka-Tsurenko match, I've no idea what's going to happen here. Of course, when they last met here, Cilic won the final, but Nishikori has looked much better than him this last week and has more variety, if not the concussive serve. We might be here a while.
Evening all, and welcome to Cilic - Nishikori!