Tennis titans Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer have set up a blockbuster US Open final with commanding semi-final victories in New York.
Djokovic crushed stricken defending champion Marin Cilic 6-0 6-1 6-2 in the most one-sided US Open semi-final in professional tennis history on Friday before Federer continued his near-flawless campaign with a 6-4 6-3 6-1 rout of Swiss countryman Stan Wawrinka.
Looking to add a second title to his 2011 crown, top-ranked Djokovic needed just one hour and 25 minutes to see off ninth-seeded Cilic to progress to his fourth grand slam final in a season for the first time.
“Of course it’s a great achievement and I’m very proud of it,” Djokovic said.
“These are the tournaments that you want to perform the best in.
“Grand slams are the most important events we have in tennis.”
The Serb, who denied Federer a record eighth Wimbledon crown in their four-set final duel at the All England Club two months ago, will be contesting his 18th grand slam decider – and sixth at Flushing Meadows.
Federer, at 34 and bidding to become the oldest men’s major winner in 45 years, is through to his record-extending 27th grand slam final.
But he hasn’t made the title match in New York since Juan Martin del Potro denied him a sixth straight crown back in 2009.
“Obviously I’m very happy. It’s been a great tournament so far,” said Federer, who is yet to drop a set.
“I’ve tried very hard in the last six years to get into another final. I’ve come close.”
In sublime touch, the Swiss superstar finished off fifth-ranked Wawrinka like he was running late for a Friday night show on Broadway.
He has coughed up just two breaks all tournament and didn’t drop serve once against the reigning French Open champion in a one-hour, 32-minute clinic at Arthur Ashe Stadium.
The 17-times grand slam champion admitted his form may well be career-best, even in his so-called twilight years.
“It’s definitely very good, maybe my best,” he said.
“I’m serving very well, I’m playing positive tennis, going for my shots and it seems to work.
“I’d love it to work just one more time this year.”
Federer leads Djokovic 21-20 in career encounters and won their most recent stoush in Cincinnati but knows the Serb saves his best for the biggest stages.
“He’s had a tremendous year,” Federer said.
“There’s a lot on the line always when we play against each other, especially in finals.
“He can get his third (slam) for the year and I can get my first in quite a long time.”
After battling to find his best form this campaign, Djokovic was merciless against the Croat, who was struggling with an ankle injury.
The top seed dropped serve just once, midway through the third set when the result was a fait accompli, before quickly regrouping to inflict his 13th defeat on Cilic from as many encounters.
Djokovic will now focus on improving his ratio in championship matches in New York.
“I haven’t been very successful in the US Open finals,” he said.
“I’ve won one and lost four but still I’ve been very successful and played some of my best tennis here.”