NEW YORK (AP) — It is among the most unexpected championship matchups in Grand Slam tennis history: Kei (KAY) Nishikori against Marin Cilic (MAH-rin CHILL-ich) in the U.S. Open final.
Neither is currently ranked in the top 10.
Neither has previously played in a major final, let alone won one.
When Japan’s Nishikori faces Croatia’s Cilic at Flushing Meadows on Monday, it will put an end to a 9 1/2-year, 38-Slam stretch in which at least one of Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic or Rafael Nadal participated in the title match.
But Nishikori beat Djokovic in the semifinals to become the first man from Asia to get to a Grand Slam singles final, while Cilic eliminated Federer.
Nishikori is 5-2 against Cilic, including victories in both of their matches this season.
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