Tennis player Kei Nishikori cheers right after beating top-ranked player Novak Djokovic in the semifinals of the 2014 U.S. Open tennis tournament.

Image: Mike Groll/Associated Press
By Yohana Desta2014-09-06 23:45:49 UTC

Kei Nishikori just became the first Asian-born man to enter a Grand Slam final.

On Sept. 5, he beat Novak Djokovic on Day 13 of the U.S. Open in a furious, back-and-forth tennis match. The final score was 6-4, 1-6, 7(7)-6(4), 6-3.

Beating Djokovic is a tough feat, as the Serbian star is currently the top-ranked player in the world and has won seven Grand Slam titles. Japanese-born Nishikori, 24, is currently the tenth-seeded player — talk about an upset.

.@keinishikori makes history as the first Asian man in a Grand Slam final! d. #Djokovic 6-4, 1-6, 7-6, 6-3 #usopen

— US Open Tennis (@usopen) September 6, 2014

“He just played better in these conditions than I did,” Djokovic told the Huffington Post.

Nishikori grew up in Japan, but moved to the U.S. when he was 14 to train at the IMG Bollettieri Acadamy. Just last year, Nishikori was the subject of a similar kind of upset, getting easily knocked out of the U.S. Open by British player Dan Evans, ranked 179th.

However, the player has broken plenty of barriers in his young career. In 2012, he was the first Japanese player to win the Japan Open, netting a victory over Canadian player Milos Raonic.

On Monday, he’ll face Marin Cilic in the title match. It’ll be the first Grand Slam Final since 2005 that doesn’t feature Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal or Novak Djokovic, according to ESPN.

Out with the old, in with the new.


Novak Djokovic waves to fans after losing the match.

Image: Charles Krupa/Associated Press

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