September 8, 2014 7:18 pm

Croatia’s Cilic beats Japan’s Nishikori at US Open for 1st major title

AP Photo/Darron Cummings

Marin Cilic of Croatia won his first Grand Slam title by beating Kei Nishikori of Japan 6-3, 6-3, 6-3 on Monday in the U.S. Open final, a year after missing the tournament because of a doping suspension.

The 14th-seeded Cilic prevented Nishikori from becoming the first man from Asia to win a major singles championship.

There hadn’t been a matchup between two players making their Grand Slam final debuts at Flushing Meadows since 1997, and this hardly qualified as a classic. It lasted less than two hours, with Cilic hitting 17 aces and relying on the same powerful groundstrokes that helped him eliminate Roger Federer in the semifinals.

A year ago, Cilic missed the U.S. Open while serving a four-month ban after testing positive for a stimulant.

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