Overpowering Nishikori from the start of the match with powerful serves and groundstrokes, Cilic quickly took a 6-3, 5-2 lead.
Serving down breakpoint, Cilic struck a crosscourt forehand long to drop serve to reach 5-3.
However with Nishikori serving at 30-40, Cilic hit a forehand down the line winner to break serve and take a two set lead after one hour and ten minutes of play.
In the final set with Nishikori serving at 1-2 30-40, the Japanese 24 year old hit a crosscourt forehand wide to lose serve to trail 1-3.
Cilic, powered by his 15th and 16th aces of the match both struck down the tee, held serve to lead 4-1.
Nishikori held serve to reach 4-2 following a netted crosscourt forehand on gamepoint from Cilic.
Cilic struck a forehand and a backhand both down the line for winners in addition to his 17th ace to survive a two deuce game to hold serve to lead 5-2.
Nishikori struck an 88 miles per hour inside out forehand down the line winner followed by his second ace of the match to hold serve to reach 5-3.
However Cilic was too powerful as he continued his aggressive play with a 130 miles per hour unreturnable serve followed by another 128 miles per hour unreturnable serve to lead 30-0.
Nishikori hit a crosscourt backhand wide to fall behind 0-40 and face match point.
Cilic double faulted on his first match point before striking a crosscourt backhand winner to seal the victory.
“Amazing. Amazing performance,” Cilic said. “Amazing two weeks for me. Especially the last three matches. I think I never played like this ever.”
The last ATP Tour player ranked 10th or below to win the US Open was the American Pete Sampras in 2002.