Djokovic, Federer face tough tests to making finals
By Larry Fine
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer remain on course for a marquee one-two clash in the men's U.S. Open final, but each must first vanquish a formidable opponent and friend in Friday's semi-finals at Flushing Meadows.
World number one and top seed Djokovic, seeking to finish a brilliant season with a third grand slam triumph, will try to end the reign of 2014 champion Marin Cilic of Croatia in the opening men's semi-final.
Number two Federer, first all-time with 17 grand slam singles crowns, follows onto Arthur Ashe Stadium court for an all-Swiss semi-final against French Open champion Stan Wawrinka.
It is a high caliber last four that promises to produce a compelling showdown in Sunday's final.
Djokovic, beaten in the Roland Garros final by Wawrinka, has never lost to Cilic in 13 meetings, including the quarter-finals of the last two Wimbledons. But the 26-year-old Croat has felt the magic again in his return to Flushing Meadows.
"It's definitely the toughest matchup, I would say," said ninth-seeded Cilic, whose season was hampered early by a shoulder injury but has picked up momentum with his return to Flushing Meadows.
"I haven't beaten him ever in my career. I had close matches the last few years, but I haven't found the right formula to be able to win a match," added the defending champion, extended twice to five sets on his way to the semi-finals.
The 28-year-old Serb sailed through his first three matches without the loss of a set, then needed four sets to get past Spaniards Roberto Bautista Agut and 18th seed Feliciano Lopez. Continued...