6 things to note before the 2014 US Open final

Japan's Kei Nishikori (left) and Marin Cilic of Croatia will face off in the 2014 US Open final. -- PHOTOS: AFP
Japan's Kei Nishikori (left) and Marin Cilic of Croatia will face off in the 2014 US Open final. -- PHOTOS: AFP

Ahead of the duel between Japanese Kei Nishikori, 24, and Croat Marin Cilic, 25, in the US Open final on Tuesday morning (Singapore time), The Straits Times looks at six things to note about the big match.

1. It is the first in nine years – and 38 grand slams – since the 2005 Australian Open that will not feature any of the Big Four of tennis – Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Andy Murray.

2. For only the second time in the tournament's modern history, the final will feature two players who are not single-digit seeds.

Coming into this match, Nishikori is ranked 10th while Cilic is 14th.

The last time it happened was in 1997, when 13th seed Australian Patrick Rafter defeated unranked Canadian-born British player Greg Rusedski.

3. While he is a trailblazer of sorts now, Nishikori may be disheartened at what he would find if he looked back in history for guidance.

Before his fantastic journey in this year's US Open, there was compatriot Jiro Satoh, who was the first Asian male tennis player to make the semi-finals of a Grand Slam in 1933.

Unfortunately for Satoh, he faltered in the last four at a time when tennis had yet to turn professional.

4. If history is not looking kindly on Nishikori, it seems to indicate a better outcome for Cilic. He is the first Croatian player to reach a Grand Slam final since the Wimbledon championships in 2001, when wildcard Goran Ivanisevic defeated Australian Patrick Rafter to win the title after three previous failed attempts.

Coincidentally, Ivanisevic – who remains the only wildcard to have won a Grand Slam – is currently Cilic's coach.

5. The US Open final this year will be the first in six years to be contested by two players who have not won a major title before. The last time it happened was at the 2008 Australian Open, when Djokovic defeated French player Jo-Wilfred Tsonga.

6. Nishikori has won five of seven meetings with Cilic.

Two of those matches have come at Flushing Meadows, where Nishikori won in five sets in the second round in 2010 and Cilic won in four sets in the third round two years ago.