NEW YORK (Reuters) - Marin Cilic's bid for a maiden grand slam title got off to the best possible start when he claimed the opening set of the U.S. Open final against Japan's Kei Nishikori 6-3 on a cool day in Flushing Meadows.
The players, both making their first appearance in a grand slam final, took a couple of games to get comfortable in breezy conditions before the aggressive, 14th-seeded Cilic began to take charge.
After holding serve at love for 3-2, the 6-foot-6 (1.98 m) Croat with the huge wingspan broke Nishikori at 15 to lead 4-2 when the Japanese sailed a forehand wide.
Cilic, who registered 11 winners to two for Nishikori, held at love in the ninth game to clinch the set when the Japanese 10th seed netted a backhand.
(Reporting by Larry Fine; Editing by Frank Pingue)