Marin Cilic -23- (CRO) def Cedrik-Marcel Stebe -256- (GER)
Match recap from Arthur Ashe Stadium announcer Andy Taylor.
NOTE: Gutted for Aussie Thanasi Kokkinakis. He was originally scheduled for tonight’s featured Round-2 match on Arthur Ashe Stadium versus Rafael Nadal, but withdrew about an hour before the session began (shoulder injury). On Tuesday, Kokkinakis earned his first US Open main draw victory, dispatching qualifier Ilya Ivashka – but it was a tough test, including two tiebreak sets.
New injuries continue to sideline Thanasi’s comeback. Missing a chance to play one of the greatest in the game on the sport’s biggest stage? That hurts.
▲ Rafael Nadal returns to the US Open’s 3rd-Round with a walkover.
Meanwhile, tournament organizers moved Louis Armstrong Stadium’s final match to center court, giving Ashe ticket holders a chance to see 2014 US Open Champion Marin Cilic and Cedrik-Marcel Stebe.
Stebe is no stranger to injury. After peaking at World #71 in 2012, he went unranked for most of 2014 and 2015 while rehabbing from multiple surgeries (hip, back, wrists). In all honesty, he wondered if he’d ever play professionally again. But in 2016, duct-taped together through the power of modern medicine, he returned to full-strength. Resolute, he played Challenger and Futures events, boosting his ranking with every win…until injury sidelined him again for most of 2018.
Then, last month in Gstaad – he entered the draw hoping to get a little competitive ATP Tour level court time. Instead, he won his way to a career-first, winning four consecutive matches to reach his first ATP Tour Final. Poetic.
Tonight, the 256th-ranked German was featured on tennis’ biggest stage and took 2014 champion Marin Cilic to 4-sets. Welcome back, Herr Stebe.
NEXT:  John Isner -14- (USA) vs  Marin Cilic -23- (CRO)
Round-2 Biography |  Marin Cilic -23- (CRO)
5-years-ago, he captured his first Grand Slam title right here in Arthur Ashe Stadium – earning straight-set wins over Roger Federer in the Semifinals and Kei Nishikori in the championship match. Since then, he climbed to a career-high ranking of World #3, reached the Finals of both Wimbledon and the Australian Open, and made 4 appearances at the year-end ATP Finals. He owns 18 career Singles titles, has reached 32 Finals, and last November – captured the Davis Cup title for his country, making Croatia the defending Davis Cup Champions this Fall in Madrid. Competing in his 11th US Open – from Croatia, please welcome 2014 Champion, Marin Cilic.
▲ R2: def Cedrik-Marcel Stebe -256- (GER) 46 63 75 63
▲ R1: def Martin Klizan -83- (SVK) 63 62 76(6)
Round-2 Biography | Cedrik-Marcel Stebe -256- (GER)
Last month in Gstaad, Switzerland – ranked outside the top-400 – this 28-year-old won 4 consecutive matches to reach his first Final on the ATP Tour, becoming the lowest-ranked ATP Tour Finalist in 10-years. He now owns 7 ATP Challenger Tour Singles titles, and on Tuesday – upset Serbia’s Filip Krajinovic to reach the 2nd-Round of the US Open for the 3rd time. Ranked as high as World #71, tonight he is making his Arthur Ashe Stadium debut. From Germany, please welcome Cedrik-Marcel Stebe.
▲ R1: def Filip Krajinovic -52- (SRB) 63 46 64 76(6)
Head to Head
These two had met once before. Marin Cilic won that match in Wimbledon’s 1st-Round.
Round-2 Biography |  Rafael Nadal -02- (ESP)
Now an 18-time Major Champion, this 33-year-old is one of the greatest to ever play the game. This June at Roland Garros, he again defended his title, becoming the first player ever to win a Grand Slam tournament 12-times – surpassing Margaret Court’s long-standing record of 11 Australian Open victories. A 2-time Olympic Gold Medalist and 4-time Davis Cup Champion – with his US Open Series victory in Montreal this Summer, he now owns a record 35 ATP Masters-1000 titles and 83 career Singles titles in all. And it was here in 2010, at just 24-years-old, he became only the 7th man in tennis history – and youngest in the Open era – to earn the career Grand Slam. From Mallorca, Spain – Please welcome 3-time US Open Champion Rafael Nadal.
▲ R2: WALKOVER | Thanasi Kokkinakis -203- (AUS)
▲ R1: def John Millman -60- (AUS) 63 62 62
Round-2 Biography | [WC] Thanasi Kokkinakis -203- (AUS)
On Tuesday, this 23-year-old earned his first career main-draw US Open victory to reach tonight’s 2nd-Round match. Ranked as high as World #69 – Last year, he earned the biggest win of his career, upsetting World #1 Roger Federer in Round-2 of the Miami Open. He owns 3 ATP Challenger Tour Singles titles, has reached 1 ATP Tour level Final, and in 2014 – helped lift Australia to the Davis Cup World Group Semifinals for the first time in 13-years. Making his Arthur Ashe Stadium debut, from Australia – please welcome Thanasi Kokkinakis.
▲ R1: def [Q] Ilya Ivashka -144- (BLR) 63 76(8) 67(4) 62