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


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