While Japanese fans were understandably disappointed after Kei Nishikori missed out on the U.S. Open title, his unprecedented run to the final will do much to boost his career and the sport's popularity in a country where baseball and soccer dominate headlines.

In Nishikori's home town of Matsue, over 800 fans packed into a convention hall to cheer on their hero at a standing-room only public viewing event. So many showed up that organizers had to turn people away once the match started at 6:10 a.m. Tuesday morning local time.

The anticipation of seeing the first Japanese win a Grand Slam quickly dissipated though when Nishikori got off to a slow start before eventually falling 6-3, 6-3, 6-3 to Croatia's Marin Cilic.