For the ninth time in his professional career, 17-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer recovered from a two-set deficit to defeat an opponent and advance to a later stage of a Grand Slam tournament. After saving two match points in his quarter-final match-up against Monfils on Arthur Ashe Stadium, Federer will next face Marin Cilic, who he defeated several weeks ago in Toronto en route to the final. Although he has come close on several occasions, Cilic is yet to earn his first victory over the five-time US Open champion. Check out the Federer vs Cilic Head to Head.
Considering Federer had edged Gael Monfils quite comfortably in Cincinnati en route to a title win several days later, many fans and pundits alike were astonished to find the world No. 2 down two sets and a break in under two hours during the quarter-final encounter. Yet to the delight of the boisterous fans in attendance and a star-studded list of celebrities including Gwen Stefani, Thierry Henry and Hugh Jackman, Federer rallied back to force a fourth set, where he dutifully saved two match points en route to a deciding fifth set.
It was there that the Federer drew his strength from the crowd and stormed through the decider 6-2 to cement his spot in the semi-final round.
“I served well and stayed in the match and somehow turned it around. I felt great in the fifth, though. I was really starting to play better and better as the match went on, and that’s a great feeling.”
In a remarkably cool display, Marin Cilic secured his second Grand Slam semi-final with a commanding straight sets victory over sixth seed Tomas Berdych. He defeated the Czech No. 1 6-2, 6-4, 7-6(4) to set up his sixth meeting with Federer and his second in as many months.
“It was a great performance today, I would say,” Cilic stated in the press conference. “Was very tricky with the conditions. Very gusty. I mean, for both of us. We are big guys. Not easy to deal with the wind and with, I mean, the ball moving in the air. I felt that I was using the wind a bit better today. Just considering the conditions and the opening of the match went in my side, that sort of relaxed me a bit more. I felt that I’m in a good driving seat and that Tomas was all the time catching me and I was serving good in the right moments.
“So, yeah, it feels great to be in the semis first time after three tries in quarterfinals. Lost both times to eventual winners. Just feels great to be here.”
This is the sixth time that Federer and Cilic will cross paths on the professional tour, with Federer holding an unblemished 5-0 record in the series. This is also the second time that they meet at the US Open, the first of which lasted four sets in the third round of the 2011 tournament.
While the head-to-head series record gives Federer an overwhelming advantage at first glance, one need only watch their most recent encounter in Toronto to know that that is far from the case. Federer needed a total of nine match points to secure his three set victory over Cilic in Toronto and will undoubtedly be tested once again in New York, where the Croat – alongside coach Goran Ivanisevic – has been playing some outstanding tennis.
Expect another long, grueling and dramatic encounter.
Prediction: Roger Federer in Five Sets