An Ecstatic Marin celebrates his victory, photo: CBS Sports
Last Saturday, Kei Nishikori took down Novak Djokovic in their semi-final game. At 24 years of age, Nishikori was the first Asian man to reach a Grand Slam championship Final. The Nishikori - Djokovic match was a grueling duel that lasted for two hours and 52 minutes. In the end, Nishikori left Djokovic in the dust and became the favorite to win the US Open. That's not how it turned out. From almost out of nowhere Marin Čilić appeared to make history.
Happy Croatian Fans photo:CBS Sports
Monday's Marin Čilić - Nishikori game in New York was over and done in an hour and thirteen minutes, one of the rare US Open games to conclude in daylight. Kei Nishikori went down under Marin Čilić' "hammer of thor," as the broadcast announcer described it. They called him the "hammer of Thor," the "monster," "the big Croat," and except for a corner of the stadium which looked distincly Croatian in their white and red checkered outfits, most the crowd in the stadium began cheering for Nishikori. They ended up cheering Nishikori's mistakes as the Big Croat took their hearts with his one hundred thirty four mile an hour serves and his smile as he won 6:3 6:3 6:3.
"The Big Croat" photo: Croatian Embassy Washington D.C.
What the crowd thought didn't bother the six foot six Croat one way or the other. He came to New York to play tennis and that is just what he did. There was a pretty lady up in the stands whose smiling face showed that she was full of confidence in him. Another lady close by was praying. Born in Međugorje in September of 1988, Marin Čilić knew that there was a lady praying for him. Marin Čilić knew he could do it so he did it. He won the match, and the US Open. He won three million dollars and the trophy. Even better than all that he won the hugs the praying lady had for him and the hugs and the kiss from the pretty girl.
The professional commentators will write pages and pages of words about how Marin Čilić came from seemingly nowhere to victory over the world's best tennis players. I know his secret I saw it with my own eyes. It was those prayers and that pretty girl together with Marin's gift for the game. You heard it put this way first right here on Crown Croatian World Network.
The winning smile. photo:ESPN
Kristina Milkovic - the pretty girl with a smile photo: CBS Sports
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