NEW YORK (Reuters) - Marin Cilic completed a sensational set of shocking semi-finals by upsetting 17-times grand slam winner Roger Federer 6-3 6-4 6-4 on Saturday to reach the final of the U.S. Open.
Croatian 14th seed Cilic’s opponent in Monday’s final will be 10th seed Kei Nishikori of Japan, who sent world number one Novak Djokovic out of Flushing Meadows with a stunning 6-4 1-6 7-6(4) 6-3 victory.
The powerful 6-foot-6 (1.98 m) Cilic had lost all five previous meetings with the Swiss master but was in charge from the outset, with his booming service game and heavy groundstrokes and Federer failed to find an answer.
Cilic completed his dismissal of second seed Federer with three aces and a sizzling backhand winner up the line as he served a love-game to finish a one hour 45 minute demolition of the grand slam king.
“Just amazing day for me,” said Cilic, who smashed 43 winners, including 13 aces. “To be able to play like this I never dreamed of. I think today was my best performance ever in my career.”
Cilic, like Nishikori, was playing in his first grand slam semi-final.
“I think that’s going to be a sensational day for both of us,” said 25-year-old Cilic, the first Croat to reach a grand slam final since his coach Goran Ivanisevic won Wimbledon in 2001.
“I’m extremely happy to be in the final, the first time in my career. I’m just going to enjoy, be happy and try to win.”
The twin surprises created the first grand slam final in nine years that does not include at least one of the recent Big Three of tennis - Federer, Djokovic and Rafa Nadal - dating back to the 2005 Australian Open which pitted Marat Safin against Lleyton Hewitt.
Editing by Gene Cherry