Djokovic, Federer face tough tests to making finals

Thu Sep 10, 2015 7:42pm EDT
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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...

Novak Djokovic of Serbia hits the ball to Feliciano Lopez of Spain during their quarterfinal match at the U.S. Open Championships tennis tournament in New York, September 8, 2015.       REUTERS/Carlo Allegri