Zagreb: Croatian media on Tuesday hailed Marin Cilic after he won his first Grand Slam title by defeating Japan`s Kei Nishikori 6-3, 6-3, 6-3 in the US Open final.
"Sensational Cilic is on the Top!" read a frontpage headline of the Jutarnji List daily with a photo of smiling Cilic lifting the cup high in the air.
"Cilic crushed Nishikori and entered the circle of immortals," the paper commented reminding that the 25-year Croat won the tournament quarter-final, semi-final and final without droping a single set.
"Proud Hearth!" read the front page headline of the country`s largest circulating Vecernji List daily.
The paper praised the player stressing that "Cilic has fulfilled his dream and achieved an historic success."
Cilic became the first Croatian man to win a Grand Slam title since Goran Ivanisevic, now his coach, triumphed at Wimbledon in 2001.
"Goran got a successor: Fantastic Cilic destroyed Nishikori and won US Open!" Index Internet portal read.
In a battle of first-time Grand Slam finalists, Cilic denied Nishikori`s bid to become the first Asian man to win a major.
"Cilic conquered US Open," commented the Sportske Novosti daily reminding that after 13 years and Ivanisevic`s win at Wimbledon Croatia won a Grand Slam.
"Cilic inscribed himself among immortals and wrote a new page of Croatia`s tennis history."
Meanwhile, Croatian Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic congratulated the player saying he shared the happiness of the whole nation.
"I`m proud that you represented Croatia so successfully at one of the most important Grand Slam tournaments in the world," Milanovic said in a statement.
As the final started rather late in Croatia -- at 2300 Monday -- fans watched mostly at home and not in cafés and bars as it is often the case when important sports events involving Croatia are taking place.
However, a few hundred faithful fans have gathered at the capital Zagreb`s main Jelacic square to watch the match live broadcast on a giant screen, applauding every point Cilic won.
Meanwhile, the main celebrations were held in Cilic`s birthplace in neighbouring Bosnia, where some 300 people gathered at a celebration party at the home of his parents.
Many in Medjugorje, a famous Catholic pilgrimage site in southern Bosnia, watched in cafés and celebrated with fireworks and torches chanting "Marin is a champion!," local media reports said.