Marin Cilic stormed to a maiden grand slam title at the US Open after overwhelming a spirited Kei Nishikori in straight sets at Flushing Meadows.
The Croatian - coached by Goran Ivanisevic - who last year was banned from tennis for taking performance enhancing drugs, prevailed 6-3 6-3 6-3 to deny Nishikori in the pair's first major final.
Nishikori provided stern resistance throughout but failed to nullify the power game of Cilic – who will rise to world No.12 after the biggest win of his career.
After shocking Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer respectively in the semi-final to reach their first major finals, both Cilic and Nishikori knew they would never stand a better chance to opening their grand slam account.
But amid the opening exchanges it was the Croate who seemingly appreciated the significance more, opening up a 4-2 lead before clinching the opening set with a spate of powerful forehand winners.
Though Nishikori's frenetic baseline game remained strong, returning the Cilic groundstrokes with interest, the 25 year old soared into the double break lead in the second set.
The Japanese No.1 did pull one break back but he was unable to sustain that momentum as Cilic took a two set lead, a position from which he had never lost from in his professional career.
Nishikori, who had beaten three top 10 players on his route to the final, knew he would have to become the first player to win from two sets down in a US Open final since 1949 if he were to claim victory in New York as Cilic put one hand on the title.
And that grip became firmer when Cilic broke in the fourth game of the third set and though Nishikori kept the final alive with a string of nerveless holds he was powerless to prevent his opponent serving out the match and converting the second of three championship points to secure his first grand slam success.