Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : September 7th 2014 Contents A67
September 7, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Sunday Guardian
NEW YORK---Roger Federer could
not pull off another big escape at
the US Open, losing 6-3, 6-4, 6-
4 in the semifinals yesterday
against Croatia s Marin Cilic.
It was the second significant sur-
prise of the day, coming after Novak
Djokovic was beaten 6-4, 1-6, 7-6
(4), 6-3 by Japan s Kei Nishikori,
who became the first man from Asia
to reach a Grand Slam singles final.
Instead of the No 1-seeded
Djokovic against the No 2-seeded
Federer---who have combined to win
24 major championships---in tomor-
row s final, it will be No 10 Nishikori
against No 14 Cilic, neither of whom
has ever appeared in a Grand Slam
"That s going to be a sensational
day for both of us," said Cilic, who
at 25 is a year older than Nishiko-
ri.For the first time in nearly a
decade---since Marat Safin beat
Lleyton Hewitt at the Australian
Open in January 2005---a men s final
at a major tournament will be con-
tested without at least one of Fed-
erer, Djokovic or Rafael Nadal, the
2013 US Open champion who did
not attempt to defend his title
because of a right wrist injury.
That trio won 34 of the past 38
Grand Slam trophies, including two
months ago at Wimbledon, when
Djokovic edged Federer in a five-
In the quarterfinals at Flushing
Meadows on Thursday night, Fed-
erer dropped the first two sets
against 20th-seeded Gael Monfils
and wound up facing two match
points, but managed to sneak away
with a victory. There would be no
such comeback this time against
Cilic, who was forced to sit out last
year s US Open while serving a dop-
Cilic had only played one previous
major semifinal, at the 2010 Aus-
tralian Open, while this was Federer s
36th. And Cilic came into the day
with an 0-5 head-to-head record.
But on this particular day, Federer
never was able to solve the big serves
and substantial wingspan of his 6-
foot-6 (1.98-meter) opponent.
Cilic hit serves at up to 132 mph
(213 kph) and finished with 13 aces,
including three in the final game.
That he would serve effectively was
no surprise. What truly stood out,
though, was the way Cilic managed
to hang with Federer in exchanges
from the baseline.
The start of Federer-Cilic was
delayed for about an hour because
of rain; the whole match only took
1 hour, 45 minutes, making it the
fourth-fastest Grand Slam loss in
Federer s long and distinguished
"Just an amazing day for me. I
feel amazing," Cilic said. "To be able
to play like this, I never dreamed
of."Cilic is the first man from Croatia
to get this far at a major since his
coach, Goran Ivanisevic, won Wim-
bledon in 2001.
That s nothing compared to
Japan s wait.
As it is, Nishikori was the first
man from his country to reach a
Grand Slam semifinal since 1933.
Now he made it a step further.
"Very happy to make history,"
He weaved his way through a pair
of five-setters totaling more than 8
1/2 hours in the previous two
rounds---beating No 5 Milos Raonic,
then No 3 Stan Wawrinka---yet
appeared to be much more lively
than Djokovic, a guy widely con-
sidered as fit as they come in men s
tennis these days.
"Just wasn t myself," Djokovic
NEW YORK---Back in May, in the aftermath
of early losses for both at the French Open,
good friends Serena Williams and Caroline
Wozniacki---who also was about a week
removed from the end of her engagement to
golf s Rory McIlroy---flew from Paris to Miami
and hung out.
They went to the beach, to an NBA playoff
game---and posted photos of the good times
on social media.
"Serena is a fun girl. She s so nice to hang
out with. Always makes me laugh and makes
everyone around her laugh," Wozniacki said.
"Definitely a very inspiring person to be around."
A few months later, here Williams and Woz-
niacki are, back at the top of their tennis games
and back together, facing one another today
for the US Open championship.
So when they were palling around in Florida,
did they discuss the idea of turning their seasons
"No. Not at all. Not even once," said
Williams, who is bidding for Grand Slam tro-
phy No 18, and US Open title No 6, including
three in a row. "We never talk tennis so much,
since we spend so much of our life on the
court. Same with me and (older sister) Venus.
Last thing on our minds is tennis. If anything,
it s to not think about a forehand or a back-
They did chat right before play began at
Flushing Meadows, noting that the draw
placed the top-seeded Williams and tenth-
seeded Wozniacki on opposite sides of the
"It was like, Oh, it would be much better
to play each other in the final than earlier
on. I was just glad we weren t on the same
side of the draw this tournament," Williams
said. "Of course, we were like, That would
be great if we could see each other in the
final, because we both, you know, hadn t had
the greatest Grand Slam year. "
That is true. Williams has not dropped a
set the past two weeks while stretching her
US Open winning streak to 20 matches. But
she lost in the fourth round at the Australian
Open, the second round at the French Open,
and the third round at Wimbledon.
Wozniacki, whose reputation as a count-
er-puncher is a complete contrast to Williams
power-based style, exited in the third round
at the Australian Open and Wimbledon, and
the first round at the French Open.
Here s a key difference: Williams is not
used to leaving such tournaments so early.
She s reached at least one Grand Slam final
in each of the past eight seasons, winning
ten major titles in that span. Wozniacki,
meanwhile, will be participating in only the
second major final of her career; she lost to
Kim Clijsters at the 2009 US Open.
"I have definitely learned a lot in those
years," said Wozniacki, whose high-profile
relationship with McIlroy ended while the
wedding invitations were in the mail.
"I would love to ... have a Grand Slam
under my belt," Wozniacki said. "It would
definitely have the media stop talking about
my lack of a Grand Slam, so that would be
No matter how close they ve become, nei-
ther Williams, who turns 33 this month, nor
Wozniacki, a 24-year-old from Denmark,
expects their off-court buddy-buddy status
to have any effect on what happens in Arthur
Ashe Stadium today.
"The friendship, while we are on court, is
put aside. We are both competitors," said
Wozniacki, who has lost eight of nine previous
meetings against Williams. "After the match,
one of us is going to congratulate the other
and we re going to be friends again. It s fine."
Williams, Wozniacki play for women's title
Kei Nishikori, of Japan, reacts after defeating Novak Djokovic, of Serbia, during the semifinals of
the US Open tennis tournament, yesterday, in New York. Nishikori won 6-4, 1-6, 7-6 (4), 6-3.
Marin Cilic, of Croatia, reacts after defeating Roger Federer of Switzerland, during the
semifinals of the US Open tennis tournament. Cilic won 6-3, 6-4, 6-4. AP PHOTOS
Federer, Djokovic lose
in US Open semis
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