Kei Nishikori
Nishikori usually looks to create an open court from the baseline, so that he can hit a backhand down the line.Reuters

Underdogs Kei Nishikori and Marin Cilic will fight it out for their maiden Grand Slam at the Arthur Ashe Stadium in the final of the 2014 US Open on Monday night, in the most unlikely major final in a decade.

Japan's Nishikori upset world no.1 Novak Djokovic on Saturday before Croatian Cilic dispatched five-time US Open champion Roger Federer, to set up the first Grand Slam final without Djokovic, Federer or Rafael Nadal since January 2005.

It is certainly not the final tennis fans or pundits expected but the Flushing Meadows now provides a massive stage for two young and upcoming stars to finda place for themselves in Grand Slam history.

Nishikori, seeded 10th, became the first Asian man to make a Grand Slam singles final after beating Djokovic 6-4, 1-6, 7-6 (4), 6-3 on a hot and humid afternoon on Saturday. The magnitude of the win becomes even clearer if you know his previous best run at a major event was the quarterfinal appearance at the 2012 Australian Open.

The 24-year-old's epic victory over the world no.1 followed a five-set quarterfinal win over third-seed Stanislas Wawrinka and another five-set marathon against fifth seed Milos Raonic in the fourth round.

And to add some more context to it, Nishikori's historic success comes despite him missing the Toronto and Cincinnati Masters to have a cyst removed from his toe, which almost made him sit out the US Open as well.

"I didn't even know if I should come to New York, so I wasn't expecting anything. But after playing my first match and second match, I got more confidence in my foot and there was no pain. My tennis was there already."

Nishikori boasts a 5-2 head-to-head record over Cilic, including both meetings this year - Brisbane and Barcelona. However, they are equal in their past US Open duels, with Nishikori winning in 2010 and Cilic triumphing in 2012.

"Yeah, I [have played him] a couple of times, but [now it's a] different story. He's been playing really well, very aggressive, you know, very fast tennis. I know he's been getting stronger. It's going to be a tough final."

Marin Cilic
Cilic is aggressive and has a big serve up his sleeve.Reuters

Cilic, on the other hand, came up with the performance of his lifetime to see off 17-time Grand Slam champion Federer 6-3, 6-4, 6-4. The 24-year-old, who missed the 2013 US Open due to a doping ban after he tested positive for a banned stimulant, also made light work of the challenge from sixth seed Tomas Berdych 6-2, 6-4, 7-6 in the quarters.

But it has not been all plain sailing at New York for the Croat as he had to pull out all the stops to come up out on top in a five-setter against Gilles Simon in the fourth round, showing he also has a good level on endurance - a quality his opponent Nishikori is known for.

"Kei showed that he was matching Novak from the baseline extremely well, even probably better than Novak, which is I don't think many guys can do it on the tour. Kei improved a lot. Just knowing that he didn't play for last couple of weeks and to make it here to the final I think is extremely huge achievement."

The final also offers a contrasting clash of styles between the 5ft 10in, 68kg Nishikori and the 6ft 6in, 82kg Cilic. Nishikori is a baseliner, who uses his speed, agility and footwork to wear down his opponent, while Cilic is a big, aggressive hard-hitter with a big serve.

Where to Watch Live

Get the report HERE

The final is scheduled to start around 2.30 am IST (5pm EST, 10pm BST). Live coverage in India will be on Ten Sports and Ten HD, while the live streaming option is HERE. International viewers can catch the action for free HERE or listen to the action free HERE.

Eurosport will broadcast matches live in Europe. Viewers can also live stream the action HERE. US viewers can catch the match on Sky Sports 3 or via live streaming HERE. Listen to the action live online on BBC HERE. Catch the action live on ESPN and CSB Sports in the United States or watch online via live streaming HERE or HERE.