Only a few days remain before champions will be crowned at the 2014 U.S. Open, and the action was once again intriguing on Thursday.
While much of the attention will be paid to the night slate with Roger Federer returning to the court, there was plenty of star power early on. The American duo of Bob and Mike Bryan continued their run early on to the men's doubles finals.
After the Bryan brothers set the stage, Marin Cilic shocked the crowd by routing Tomas Berdych. It was a huge win for Cilic to propel him to the semifinals, but he will have a tough test awaiting him.
Before the evening action gets underway, here's a look at the early scores, highlights and recap from Day 11 of the U.S. Open.
|Early U.S. Open Day 11 Notable Matches|
|No. 14 Marin Cilic def. No. 6 Tomas Berdych||6-2, 6-4, 7-6(7)|
|No. 1 Bob Bryan/Mike Bryan def. Scott Lipsky/Rajeev Ram||6-4, 4-6, 6-3|
U.S. Open Day 11 Breakdown
The doubles competition hasn't been the focal point of the U.S. Open, but the Bryan brothers made a statement Thursday.
Seeking their fifth U.S. Open title, the duo needed to go the distance in the semifinals. Despite a tough test from fellow American duo Scott Lipsky and Rajeev Ram, the brothers were convincing in the final set.
ESPN Tennis provides a look at the celebration from the team following their semifinals triumph:
Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan are only one win away from claiming their 100th doubles title together. #espntenni... https://t.co/Pulb6ePrWG2014-9-4 19:31:22
While they've enjoyed a storied career overall, the Bryan brothers have failed to win a Grand Slam since 2013 at Wimbledon. After missing out on clinching the title last season in Flushing Meadows, they face a difficult Spanish team in the final.
US Open Tennis @usopen
#Bryans serve up the win! Back into the #usopen final with three set win over Lipsky and Ram. @MBUSA http://t.co/caIABjfRR92014-9-4 18:08:08
No. 11 Marcel Granollers and Marc Lopez also ousted No. 4 Ivan Dodig and Marcelo Melo in straight sets on Thursday. After a great run, including wins over multiple seeded opponents, Granollers and Lopez have been impressive thus far.
Though they came up short last season, Bob Bryan spoke about what has changed for the duo this time around, per Randy Walker of World Tennis Magazine:
Randy Walker @TennisPublisher
“I feel a little looser this year,” says Bob Bryan on @TennisChannel of the ’14 #USOpen, one year after gunning for calendar year Grand Slam2014-9-4 19:29:04
Following the doubles action, Cilic served up a huge surprise during the men's quarterfinals.
Cilic narrowly won a five-set match against Gilles Simon in the fourth round but left no doubt against Berdych. The 25-year-old took a straight-sets victory over the No. 6 seed to achieve a huge milestone, as Ben Rothenberg of The New York Times notes:
Ben Rothenberg @BenRothenberg
Marin Cilic beats Tomas Berdych 6-2, 6-4, 7-6(4) to reach his first #USOpen semifinal, blasting along with 19 aces. Awaits Federer-Monfils.2014-9-4 20:45:52
This marks not only his first U.S. Open semis but also his second Grand Slam semis appearance in his career, the other coming at the 2010 Australian Open. Adam Zagoria of SNY.tv points out the length between semifinals for Cilic:
Adam Zagoria @AdamZagoria
Marin Cilic is through to his first Grand Slam semi in 4 years, beating Berdych in straights. Will play Fed/Monfils winner2014-9-4 20:45:17
The resurgence for Cilic also comes after a nine-month suspension last September due to a doping violation. As he makes his way through the men's bracket, his next matchup will be a difficult one.
As Zagoria noted, the winner of Federer and Gael Monfils will face off with Cilic in the next round. With both playing brilliant tennis throughout the tournament, Federer is still the player no one in the men's bracket wants to face.
During his career, Cilic has gone 0-5 against Federer and lost to him earlier this season in Toronto. As for Monfils, he has faced him just once and lost on a hard court back in 2009.
After flashing 19 aces and decisively beating Berdych, Cilic is playing outstanding tennis at Flushing Meadows. He will have to prove that against either Federer or Monfils to make the first Grand Slam final of his career.
Follow @RCorySmith on Twitter.