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Federer fires Switzerland into Davis Cup final

Roger Federer secured Switzerland's place in the final of the Davis Cup for the first time since 1992 by comfortably beating Italy's Fabio Fognini in Geneva.

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Federer: "I hope to get another chance to lift a Grand Slam"

Federer says that falling just short of claiming an elusive 18th Grand Slam title for the second major in a row won't haunt him, but he would be more than happy to add to his record haul in 2015.

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Federer returns to ATP World Tour Finals for record 13th straight year

Roger Federer has punched his ticket to the ATP World Tour Finals for a record 13th year in a row after clinching a 6th title at the Western and Southern Open.

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Federer holds off Ferrer for 80th title, sixth in Cincinnati

Roger Federer defeated David Ferrer 6-3, 1-6, 6-2 for his sixth Western and Southern Open title and 80th singles title of his career.

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Upbeat Federer believes he has more to offer

“I'm very happy to see that with feeling normal I can produce a performance like I did at Wimbledon. That clearly makes me believe that this was just a stepping stone to many more great things in the future.”

Federer fires Switzerland into Davis Cup final

Roger Federer secured Switzerland's place in the final of the Davis Cup for the first time since 1992 by comfortably beating Italy's Fabio Fognini in Geneva on Sunday.

Roared on by a capacity crowd in the Palexpo Arena, Federer dismantled world number 17 Fognini 6-2 6-3 7-6 (4) in just under two hours to give the Swiss an unassailable 3-1 lead.

Italy's Andreas Seppi beat Michael Lammer 6-4 1-6 6-4 in the fifth rubber but Switzerland, who lost to the United States in their only other Davis Cup final appearance, progressed 3-2 and will play France in the final.

The French beat holders Czech Republic at Roland Garros.

"It's really nice to share it with my team members," Federer said in an on-court interview after being hoisted on the shoulders of Wawrinka and captain Severin Luethi for a lap of honor round the court.

"I think I really struggled today. I think Fabio struggled all weekend. It's tough conditions, pretty quick court, so it's always going to happen especially if you are not serving so well. I thought today wasn't the best performance from both of us, but then again you've got to fight with what you've got and in the end I'm happy to make the difference."

Federer gave the Swiss the first point on Friday by easing past Simone Bolelli before Stanislas Wawrinka doubled their advantage with a straight-sets victory over Fognini.

But Fognini and Bolelli combined brilliantly in Saturday's doubles match to beat Wawrinka and Marco Chiudinelli in five sets and put the pressure back on the Swiss. Having been rested for the doubles match, a refreshed Federer broke Fognini in the sixth game to take a 4-2 lead before snatching another break to claim the first set.

Federer, who has now won all five of his Davis Cup singles rubbers this year, continued to trouble the Italian with his precision hitting and broke Fognini in the eighth game of the second set to take control of the match.

Fognini rallied in the third set and took Federer to a tie break but the 17-times grand slam champion held his nerve, claiming it 7-4 to reach the first Davis Cup final of his illustrious career.

''It's nice that we are going to have the opportunity to do something very special at the end of the year,'' Federer said at the winning team's news conference.

In Federer's only previous Davis Cup semifinal 11 years ago, he lost a decisive reverse singles match against Lleyton Hewitt in Australia.

At age 33, Federer now has his best chance to add one of the few titles to elude him.

World No. 3 Federer and No. 4 Wawrinka, the Australian Open champion, should face a strong France team. France's 4-1 victory over two-time defending champion Czech Republic this weekend featured Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, ranked No. 12, Gael Monfils the No. 18, and No. 21 Richard Gasquet. All three officially live in Switzerland.

''For sure it can be amazing if we get that trophy, but it will be tough,'' said Wawrinka, who has had a career year at age 29.

Federer is intrigued if the French will use its home-team advantage to opt for clay or hard courts, potentially in Lille.

''The most classical matchups I’ve had in my career came against France. We are eager to find out what surface they are going to choose,'' Federer said. ''I think it's difficult for them as it is.''



"For the whole of Switzerland it's great we're in the finals now," Switzerland captain Severin Luthi said. "We couldn't be happier.

"Roger didn't have that much time to get used to the court and conditions and there is a lot of pressure involved. For me he played fantastic tennis."

The final will be played in France from November 21-23.

Date: 14th September 2014, Source: Reuters and AP

Swiss hopes in Roger Federer's hands

There isn’t much Roger Federer hasn’t achieved after more than 16 years on tour, but there remains an important item of business on the Swiss maestro’s radar as the 2014 season nears its conclusion.

Federer is seeking to send Switzerland into its first Davis Cup final since 1992 and bring the nation one step closer to its maiden title. The 33 year old will have destiny in his hands on Sunday, with the opportunity to seal Swiss hopes with victory over World No. 17 Fabio Fognini and Italy. The Italians were spared elimination after the five-set heroics of Fognini and Simone Bolelli in Saturday’s doubles rubber.

"With the season that Stan and me and everybody has had, we're ready for the big occasion and we're not going to shy away from it,” said Federer. “We're going to embrace it.”

Federer could potentially find himself with a jam-packed conclusion to his 2014 campaign, having clinched a berth in a record 13th straight Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, followed by the Davis Cup Final a week later. The Basel native has amassed a 35-7 singles record in Davis Cup play and is riding a five-match win streak, since falling to John Isner in a first round defeat to the United States in 2012.

Contesting his 25th tie, Federer is looking to equal the Jakob Hlasek and Marc Rosset-led 1992 squad that reached Switzerland’s lone final. The Swiss fell 3-1 to the U.S., despite a five-set win by Rosset over Courier in the second rubber. John McEnroe and Pete Sampras came back from two-sets down to clinch the subsequent doubles rubber, before Courier topped Hlasek in four sets for the title.

"We haven't had that much success as a team over the last 50 years, so we still talk about 20 years ago when they made the final in 1992 against Sampras, Agassi, Courier and McEnroe in Ft. Worth, Texas. We also have that opportunity to write history this time around. I hope they will talk about this team 20 years from now. It would be a dream for us, the players."

Date: 14th September 2014, Source: ATP

Bolelli/Fognini keep Italian hopes alive

Maybe the gods are just setting Roger Federer up for a massively emotional moment on Sunday, but Switzerland’s passage into the 2014 Davis Cup final is not yet assured. Italy threw itself a lifeline by winning a four-hour doubles to take this fascinating semifinal into a third day, and keep the Swiss biting their nails.

The bare facts will record that Italy’s Simone Bolelli and Fabio Fognini beat the home pair of Marco Chiudinelli and Stan Wawrinka 7-5, 3-6, 5-7, 6-3, 6-2, but perhaps the most important statistic is the time. The match ended three minutes short of the four-hour mark, and while Italy has the momentum going into the final day, a fresh Roger Federer is likely to face a slightly jaded Fognini in the first reverse singles.

“I’m a bit tired,” admitted Fognini after his efforts. His captain Corrado Barrazzutti chose to see the uplifting effect of Fognini’s doubles win, but there’s no doubt Federer will start as a strong favourite to beat whoever the Italians place before him - and see him and his team-mates into their first-ever Davis Cup final.

Federer was rested for the doubles, in a low-risk move by the Swiss to try and seal victory in two days but not at all costs. Chiudinelli and Wawrinka had played three times before, and while they had never won a match, they had combined effectively, and lost the longest match in Davis Cup history when Tomas Berdych and Lukas Rosol beat them in just over seven hours.

Switzerland's captain had no regrets about his decision to leave Federer out of the doubles. "We talked yesterday after both matches," he said, "and Roger told me he'd rather not play the doubles - he's had a lot of matches this year - so we took the decision prety quickly and I didn't try to persuade him to change his mind. We wanted to keep Roger fresh in case we didn't win the doubles.

Both pairs traded breaks early in the first set, but it was the break of Chiudinelli’s serve in the 11th game that enabled the Italians - in their matching backwards-facing caps - to take the first set. Chiudinelli struggled on serve late in the second set too, but came through two tight games to level the match after the Swiss had broken early.

The third set was decided in a couple of significant minutes. Chiudinelli was still struggling to be the equal of the other three players - he was missing a lot of first serves, he was late on some volleys, and he was having difficulty directing his returns. It made the Swiss look vulnerable.

But then at 4-5, Wawrinka let his partner take two smashes that Wawrinka could have taken, Chiudinelli put them away, and his confidence rose. When he then hit a backhand winner down Fognini’s line on the first point of the 5-5 game, the stadium sensed the Swiss were on to something. They broke to 15, and Chiudinelli then served out the set to 15 without Wawrinka having to play a single stroke. On such tiny boosts of confidence can entire matches turn.

Only the match turned back Italy's way. The Swiss looked the stronger pair early in the fourth, but Wawrinka was broken in the sixth game. Suddenly the momentum was back with the Italians, and the set was over in a mere 36 minutes.

A long third game ended with Chiudinelli hitting a forehand long to concede his serve, and as Wawrinka’s volleys started to unravel, the Italians broke a second time, and served out victory in the easiest of the five sets, Bolelli putting away a smash on match point. After an opening day with not a single set won, the Italians had three sets in one match and had kept their hopes of a first final since 1998 alive.

“This point was very important for us, even if Roger wasn’t playing,” said Fognini. “I am much happier with my performance today, I served much better than yesterday, I returned much better. It’s still going to be very difficult for us but it’s a little less difficult than before. It depends if I play tomorrow, we have to decide. I’m a bit tired, but Simone and I always played long matches, we played four hours in Argentina, we played a long match in Naples, so we’re going to try until the end.”

Whether we play with Roger and Stan or Marco and Stan, the chances of winning the doubles are not much higher, so I think it was a good decision to take."

The nominated players for Sunday are Federer against Fognini in the first reverse singles, followed by Wawrinka facing Bolelli, but both captains can field any player as long as he didn’t face the same opponent on Friday.

Date: 13th September 2014, Source: Davis Cup

Switzerland leads Italy 2-0 in Davis Cup semifinals

Roger Federer and Stan Wawrinka took Switzerland close to its first Davis Cup final in 22 years after cruising to straight-sets wins in the opening singles against Italy on Friday.

First, Federer beat Simone Bolelli 7-6 (5), 6-4, 6-4 without dropping serve to delight a crowd of more than 18,000 at Palexpo indoor arena.

Victory marked Federer’s 36th Davis Cup singles win; his last defeat came in the 2012 first round against the United States’ John Isner. It was also his 600th hard-court win and an ATP World Tour-best 55th tour-level win of the season.

Wawrinka, the Australia Open champion, followed up by beating Italian No. 1 Fabio Fognini 6-2, 6-3, 6-2 in just 90 minutes. Wawrinka improved to a 4-1 lead in his ATP Head to Head series with Fognini.

''A very good match - for once,'' Wawrinka joked in an on-court interview after a rare easy win for him in Davis Cup. ''It's the ideal start but there remains a match to win.''

Federer and Wawrinka have a chance Saturday to give the hosts an unassailable 3-0 series lead and send Switzerland to its first final since losing to a superstar United States lineup in 1992. The Swiss have never won the title.

The 2008 Olympic doubles gold medalists are scheduled to face Italian pair Andreas Seppi and Paolo Lorenzi, though both teams suggested plans could change. Pairings must be confirmed by 1000 GMT Saturday.

Wawrinka said he and Federer - who played at the US Open last week into the quarterfinals and semifinals, respectively - would discuss options with team captain Severin Luethi.

If needed, Federer would play Fognini in the first reverse singles match Sunday.

In the other semifinal series, France leads the two-time defending champion Czech Republic 2-0.

Federer talked this week of his anticipation to play in front of so many home fans - the second biggest attendance in world tennis, he said. The Arthur Ashe Stadium at Flushing Meadows holds more than 23,000.

He was rarely under pressure and took the only break-point chances he needed midway through the second set and early in the third.

''I had to wait for a while to get my first break,'' Federer said. ''After that it was easy to play with the lead but it was a tough match, as the score suggests.''

Bolelli hit more winners than Federer - 33 to 30 - but failed to convert any of his three break chances.

''Not being broken on serve is always a great thing. That's what most pleased me,'' said Federer, who improved to 36-7 in Davis Cup singles, including 15-1 on hard courts.

The first set went with serve to the tiebreaker, and Federer took his third set point with a flat backhand across the court which Bolelli could not handle.

The Swiss No. 1 took his first chance to break for a 4-3 lead in the second. He raced in behind a strong return and pressured Bolelli into netting a forehand.

Serving for the set, Federer saved two break chances before taking his fifth chance to clinch with a high volley winner.

A fortunate net cord for Federer, barely creeping on to the Italian's side of the court, clinched an early and decisive break in the third.

Federer double-faulted on his first match point, then clinched with a forehand winner at the net.

Fourth-ranked Wawrinka simply out-hit Fognini, winning the aces count 16-0 and 37-14 in total winners.

The 17th-ranked Italian also had eight double faults, including on Wawrinka's first set point in the opener.

''I've played good matches in Davis Cup this year,'' said Fognini, who beat Britain's Andy Murray in straight sets in the previous round, ''but today, no.''

Wawrinka raced through the final game, clinching on a service winner.

Date: 12th September 2014, Source: AP and ATP

Federer, Wawrinka lead Swiss bid for Davis Cup final

Roger Federer and Stan Wawrinka unite in Geneva this weekend as Switzerland bids for its first appearance in a Davis Cup final in 22 years.

Federer and Wawrinka, who are slated to play the singles and doubles rubbers for their country, are joined by Marco Chiudinelli and Michael Lammer as they face Italians Fabio Fognini, Andreas Seppi, Paolo Lorenzi and Simone Bolelli in the tie hosted on a hard court constructed in Geneva’s Palexpo.

In the opening rubber, Roger Federer faces No. 3 Italian Simone Bolleli for the first time since meeting in a Davis Cup World Group play-off in 2009. Federer claimed that and one other encounter - contested the year prior, in Basel - for a perfect ATP Head to Head record against Bolelli.

Wawrinka battles top Italian Fabio Fognini, the World No. 17, in the second singles rubber. Wawrinka is 2-1 in Davis Cup singles ties this year - all contested on hard courts - while Fognini is 4-0, all on clay. Wawrinka has won three of his four matches against Fognini.

In doubles, Federer/Wawrinka will face Lorenzi/Seppi on Saturday, and reverse singles are scheduled for Sunday.

"The season that Stan and me have had, I think we are ready for the big occasion," said Federer, after Thursday's draw.

''This tie obviously is the focus right now. But after that I still have some big tournaments coming up.''

Federer did acknowledge his anticipation at playing in front of daily, 18,500 sold-out crowds of typically noisy home fans.

''It's a record crowd for Switzerland I can't wait for that to happen,'' said Federer, who helped the Swiss beat Kazakhstan 3-2 in the previous round in April, when the same venue held 16,000.

Victory would put the Swiss into a November 21-23 final against either France or two-time defending champions the Czech Republic who will contest the other semi-final at Roland Garros in Paris.

Date: 11th September 2014, Source: ATP, AP and Reuters

Moment of destiny awaits the history boys

“We have the opportunity to write history,” said Roger Federer on the eve of Switzerland’s first Davis Cup semifinal in 11 years. And indeed the weight of history seems to hang heavily over Geneva’s Palexpo exhibition centre as it gears up for welcoming 18,500 spectators for one of the greatest weekends in Swiss tennis history.

The opportunity is massive for Switzerland - this is the country’s third semifinal in 86 years of competing in the world cup of tennis - but it’s also massive for Federer. Many speak of him as the greatest player in the history of tennis, but a Davis Cup winner’s medal is the one meaningful and historical title missing from his overflowing trophy cabinet. The closest he came was 11 years ago, when he was beaten from two-sets and 5-3 up by an inspired Lleyton Hewitt, the Swiss leaving the Rod Laver Arena in tears as his country’s Davis Cup dreams drifted into the Southern Ocean.

Since then Federer has felt the expectation of being his country’s only world-class player, and has tended to play Davis Cup only after the Grand Slam season has finished. Yet this year he has committed to the competition from the start, and at 33 has the chance to fill the last gap in his list of achievements. And ironically this weekend’s opportunity has its roots in that disappointment at Melbourne Park 11 years ago.

“We travelled to Melbourne with eight or nine players,” Federer recalled, “and Stan was one of them. He was very young at the time, so I’m very happy he got the experience back then, and has seen it all unfold, the good times and the bad. As a team, we haven’t had much success over the past 50 years, so people in Switzerland still talk about 20 years ago when we made the finals. Hopefully they’ll talk about this tie in 20 years, that would be wonderful - this is the dream for us, the players.”

Switzerland’s passage to the 1992 final happened in this exact same stadium, when the two-man team of Jakob Hlasek and Marc Rosset beat Jaime Oncins, Luis Mattar and Casio Motta of Brazil in two days. This time the Swiss are again reliant on two players, although its captain Severin Luthi isn’t ruling out using Marco Chiudinelli and Michael Lammer in the doubles, as he did in February when Switzerland beat Serbia with all four players playing live rubbers.

By contrast, the visitors have a greater strength in depth and have used that strength to make a mildly surprising selection. Italy’s captain Corrado Barrazzutti has opted for his third-ranked singles player Simone Bolelli over Andreas Seppi, the hero of Italy’s fifth-rubber win over Great Britain in April’s quarterfinals. That’s probably, because in 10 previous matches, Seppi has won just one set against Federer. Bolelli hasn’t won any but as he has lost just twice to the Swiss, he may be less scarred than Seppi. Bolelli’s last match was a five-set thriller against Tommy Robredo at the US Open when he played some outstanding tennis early in the match, and he is generally playing well on hard courts.

The draw, made by Switzerland’s 1992 hero Marc Rosset, leaves the line-up for the weekend looking like this:

Roger Federer (SUI) v Simone Bolelli (ITA)
Stan Wawrinka (SUI) v Fabio Fognini (ITA)
Roger Federer/Stan Wawrinka (SUI) v Paolo Lorenzi/Andreas Seppi (ITA)
Roger Federer (SUI) v Fabio Fognini (ITA)
Stan Wawrinka (SUI) v Simone Bolelli (ITA)

Not only is the focus all on Federer, but the Swiss are strong favourites with Federer ranked world No. 3 and Wawrinka at world No. 4. Yet Italy will prove a tough nut to crack. Fognini, ranked world No. 17, is very capable of beating Wawrinka, and Federer and Wawrinka don’t have a great record in doubles in recent years.

And while the Italians were in the final more recently than the Swiss - 1998 to 1992 - the desire burns brightly among Italy’s men to emulate the success of their female contemporaries who have won the Fed Cup four times in the last eight years.

“If we get to the final it’ll be worth more than winning one Fed Cup,” says Fognini with a twinkle in his eye, before quickly admitting he’s joking. It may be a joke - he would have Francesca Schiavone and Flavia Pennetta to answer to if it wasn’t! - but it testifies to how the Italians have the ability and the desire to spoil the Swiss’ moment of history in Geneva this weekend.

Date: 11th September 2014, Source: Davis Cup

Federer leads Switzerland's Davis Cup challenge

Having coming up short in his bid for an 18th Grand Slam title, Roger Federer is quickly turning his focus to the Davis Cup - a trophy still missing from his collection.

The former top-ranked player leads Switzerland against Italy in Geneva this weekend as his country bids to reach the final for the first time since 1992. France hosts two-time defending champion Czech Republic in the other semifinal at Roland Garros, home of the French Open.

The best-of-five series begin Friday with two singles matches, followed by doubles on Saturday and reverse singles on Sunday.

After his straight-set loss to eventual winner Marin Cilic in the U.S. Open semifinals, seven-time Wimbledon champion Federer showed his commitment to the Swiss team, heading back home to prepare for the Davis Cup tie on an indoor hard court.

''In tennis there are so many highlights thankfully, so I have something to do next Friday already again,'' Federer said after bowing out of Flushing Meadows. ''I'll be very preoccupied with that, starting right now.''

For years, the 33-year-old Federer did not regard the Davis Cup as a main priority, preferring to dedicate himself to Grand Slam events and big tournaments. But the emergence of teammate and Australian Open champion Stan Wawrinka as a top player has convinced him they have a good chance of winning the prestigious team competition.

''We obviously are favorites,'' the third-ranked Federer said. ''We have a formidable team. We are playing at home and we chose the surface. We can do it.''

Along with Federer and Wawrinka, Marco Chiudinelli and Michael Lammer complete the Swiss team, which has never lost to Italy at home. The Italian team includes Fabio Fognini and Andreas Seppi.

Swiss captain Severin Luthi said the presence of both Federer and Wawrinka in Switzerland since the beginning of the week helped the team to prepare.

''We could train together as soon as Tuesday, which was not the case in our opening two rounds,'' Luthi said, referring to the tight 3-2 wins over Serbia and Kazakhstan.

If Switzerland wins, it will travel to France or the Czech Republic for the final.

The French will be counting on Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Gael Monfils to extend their good run of form to prevent the Czech Republic from becoming the first nation to reach three consecutive Davis Cup finals since Australia in 1999-2001.

Tsonga lost in the fourth round at the U.S. Open but produced good wins over Novak Djokovic and Federer in Toronto to win the title. Monfils advanced to the quarterfinals at Flushing Meadows, losing to Federer in five sets after going up two sets to one and failing to convert two match points.

''This is the best team in the world,'' France captain Arnaud Clement said of the Czechs. ''One can't win the Davis Cup twice in a row by chance. We'll be trying to put their amazing run to an end.''

Tomas Berdych and Radek Stepanek lead the Czech team, which also features Lukas Rosol and Jiri Vesely. Looking to extend their winning streak to 12 straight ties, the Czechs are finding extra motivation in the setting of their semifinal.

''It's special when you come here for a Grand Slam tournament and it's definitely even more special for us to play here and play for our country,'' the 35-year-old Stepanek said after finding out that Roland Garros was originally built to host Davis Cup matches. ''It's even more special to play here in the semifinals.''

Date: 10th September 2014, Source: AP

Federer: "I hope to get another chance to lift a Grand Slam"

Roger Federer says that falling just short of claiming an elusive 18th Grand Slam title for the second major in a row won't haunt him, but he would be more than happy to add to his record haul in 2015.

After bowing out to Marin Cilic in the US Open semi-finals, following his five-set loss in the Wimbledon final to Novak Djokovic, the second seed reflected on what it would mean to keep adding Grand Slam hardware to his trophy case.

"It would mean a lot. I keep working hard to win titles on the tour, not just No. 18. I was very happy to get to No. 80 the other week, so that was huge for me.

"I’ll give it a go again in Australia; I hope to be healthy there. I enjoy playing there. It's been one of my most consistent Slams. I hope to get another chance at it. I can't do more than try really hard, which I'm doing."

The five-time US Open champion plans to spend little time lamenting his loss to the Croat, whom he credited with playing “old school tennis” in their battle in Arthur Ashe Stadium on Saturday.

"It was just full swing from all sides: forehand, backhand, serve, return. No holding back from his side. I just couldn't hang with him for long enough to create some doubts in his mind," said Federer.

"I'm just really disappointed, after how well I have played this season, especially here at the tournament. I really felt like I could win this tournament," added Federer. "But in tennis, there are so many highlights, so I have something to do next Friday already [Davis Cup]. I'll be very preoccupied with that starting right now."

"I think it's exciting for the game to have different faces from time to time," he said. "At the same time, I think people still enjoy seeing the guys they have seen for a while or often in the big matches.

"But I think it's definitely refreshing to some extent. It's big for Croatia and big for Japan... on sporting terms and tennis terms."

The World No. 3 heads to Switzerland to represent his home country in a Davis Cup World Group semi-final tie, against Italy.

"And after that I'm going to hopefully play a good end to the season. I don't know exactly where I'm going to play yet, but I'll definitely play the indoor season at the end of the year," said Federer. "I’ve qualified for the ATP World Tour Finals, so that's on my mind as we go along.​"

Date: 7th September 2014, Source: ATP

Cilic upsets Federer to reach first Grand Slam final

The US Open will crown a new grand slam champion on Monday after five-time champion Roger Federer followed Novak Djokovic to the exit in the semi-finals at the hands of Marin Cilic, who stunned the No.2 seed and the Arthur Ashe Stadium crowd with a 6-3 6-4 6-4 victory.

This is the first time since the 2005 Australian Open that a Grand Slam final did not feature Federer, Djokovic or Rafael Nadal.

"It’s just an amazing day for me," Cilic said in his on-court interview. "I feel amazing. To be able to play like this, I never dreamed of it, and I think today was the best performance of my career.

"It's gonna be a special day for both of us: an opportunity for both of us to win a Grand Slam, to be a part of the history," he said. "There's definitely gonna be huge emotions on the court. We played a couple times already here at the US Open. Both of those matches were extremely tough under very difficult conditions."

Cilic, who celebrates his 26th birthday later this month, is the first Croatian to reach a major final since his coach, Goran Ivanisevic, won the Wimbledon title in 2001.

Stepping on court after rain postponed the start of the match, the 14th-seeded Cilic took the first lead to go up 3-1. With Federer serving up 40/0, Cilic won five straight points and claimed the break as the second-seeded Swiss netted a forehand. He saved Federer’s break back opportunity in the next game as he put away a smash winner, and proceeded the clinch the set after 28 minutes with his fifth ace.

Federer fell into a 0/40 hole, including a double-fault, to start the second set. He saved two break points, but put a backhand into the net on the third to concede the break. Cilic, meanwhile, continued to deny Federer any openings. He won all 13 of his first serve points and closed the set in similar fashion to the first, with his fifth ace.

Federer had battled back from a two-sets deficit for the ninth time his career on Thursday night against Gael Monfils, after saving two match points in the fourth set. As he had done against the Frenchman, and with the crowd once again in his corner, he began the third set with his first break of the match. Cilic immediately got back on serve, and broke again to go up 4-3. He sealed his place in the final with a love service hold, firing three aces before finishing the match with a backhand winner. Cilic had won 93% of his first service points.

"First point to the last I was absolutely playing the best tennis of my life," he said. "Considering the huge occasion I was playing in,  for the second time in a semi-finals of a Grand Slam, it just can't be more special. Considering also that even I was a set up and break up, the crowd was rooting for Roger to come back, it wasn't easy to deal with that, but I felt that my serve helped me a lot today to get some free points to breathe a little bit easier. It was working perfectly."

The 17-time Grand Slam champion lost to Cilic for the first time in their sixth ATP Head to Head encounter. He had been attempting to record his 600th match win on hard courts.

"It's fairly simple: I think Marin played great," said Federer. "I maybe didn't catch my best day, but I think that was pretty much it in a nutshell.

"I think he served great when he had to," he elaborated. "I think the first break was tough. I think was up 40-Love and then lose five straight points, and then had one chance in the third when I was up a break and he came straight back. Those are my two moments really.

"I was feeling good. I was feeling fine," Federer said.

"I just think if I could have stayed longer with him in the first set, I felt like there was a proper match going on. But I think him playing with the lead he played with no fear and just full-out confidence.

"But credit to him for just playing incredible tennis."

Date: 7th September 2014, Source: ATP and Reuters

Federer ready for tough semifinal against Cilic

Despite more than 70 net approaches against Gael Monfils on Thursday night and an overall high success rate at the net throughout the tournament, Roger Federer was not convinced that charging the net would necessarily be a winning tactic against Marin Cilic in their Super Saturday US Open semi-final clash.

“I started to serve and volley some more as the match went on. But I don't know if I can keep it up,” said Federer, who won 53 of 74 net approaches in his five-set victory over Monfils. “It's going to be a day match now against Cilic. I played him in Toronto in also equally fast conditions. That was a night match. I'm happy I'm spending some time at the net, because that's going to keep giving me confidence to keep on doing that as we move along in the tournament.

“There are different ways to come to the net. It can be serve and volley, it can be serve one shot come in, or throughout the rally. So I think it depends a little bit on who I'm playing. I know that Cilic is going to stay on the baseline and dictate play as much as he can. Otherwise he's actually quite similar to Gaël: he's tall, got a big serve, can return well, got a big reach. From that standpoint, I guess it was actually good playing Gaël tonight ahead of the match against Cilic.”

Exhilarated by the support he got from the New York crowd in his comeback five-set win over Monfils on Thursday night, Federer was eager to get on court against Cilic as he seeks to reach his seventh US Open final and first since 2009, when he finished runner-up to Juan Martin del Potro.

“There were thousands of fans in the stadium,” exclaimed Federer. “It grows your belief that you can hit better shots, you can dig out more tough balls, you can serve better. All that just helps solidify your belief.

“I must say tonight was actually quite emotional for me. I really thought the crowds were incredible. They definitely got me through the match out here tonight. I really enjoyed it, and I can't wait for the next match to come around.”

Federer has a perfect 5-0 ATP Head to Head against Cilic, including a hard-fought three-set win over the Croat in Toronto last month, and admitted Cilic is in the best form of his life ahead of their Saturday clash.

“I must say he's really cleaned up his game,” said Federer. “It feels like he also has a say in the outcome, and that's kind of what you want, especially against top players. I thought today he played great start to finish.

“I played him in Toronto. Funny match. I didn't play great in the first set but somehow got it done, and then I think I wasted like eight match points in the second set; had to go three. It was late at night, but maybe that’s exactly the kind of match I needed to win. I think he's doing great. I know it's going to be a tough match.”

Date: 6th September 2014, Source: ATP