With the final four women's contestants set, they were afforded a day of rest on Thursday while the last two men's semifinal spots were determined for the 2014 U.S. Open. While there were only two matches that took place on Day 11 of this prestigious tournament, there was no shortage of drama.
On Wednesday, we watched No. 1 Novak Djokovic defeat No. 8 Andy Murray and No. 10 Kei Nishikori continue his hot streak, defeating No. 3 Stan Wawrinka. Those may not have been the expected results, and that trend continued on Thursday.
With another day in Flushing, New York, in the books, and only four players remaining in both the men's and women's draws, let's take a look at the tournament's updated bracket and what transpired on Day 11 of the U.S. Open.
|No. 14 Marin Cilic||No. 6 Tomas Berdych||6-2, 6-4, 7(7)-6(4)|
|No. 2 Roger Federer||No. 20 Gael Monfils||4-6, 3-6, 6-4, 7-5, 6-2|
(14) Marin Cilic def. (6) Tomas Berdych; 6-2, 6-4, 7(7)-6(4)
Cilic continued the recent streak of upset victories just one day after Nishikori's win over Wawrinka. While the No. 14 seed defeating the No. 6 seed is impressive in its own right, Cilic's performance was simply dazzling.
The Croatian's serve was on point during his quarterfinal clash with Berdych. He accumulated 19 aces and served well enough to win 84 percent of his first-serve points. It was important for Cilic to keep his velocity up against his opponent, and he did well for himself, averaging 119 mph.
Cilic picked his spots in the match and was smartly aggressive at times, winning nine of a possible 13 net points while tallying 46 winners.
ATP World Tour tweeted the final match score:
After the match, the No. 14 seed spoke of the on-court conditions and his overall feeling of earning a spot in the semifinals, via USOpen.org:
Yeah, it was a great performance today, I would say. 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.
It wasn't necessarily a bad day for Berdych, but he appeared to struggle with the windy conditions more than his opponent. His accuracy suffered, as he only put 50 percent of his first serves in bounds. Even though he's a hard hitter like Cilic—Berdych's serve averaged 120 mph on Thursday—errant shots allowed him to win just 72 percent of his first-serve points.
He remained humble after the match and congratulated his opponent, via Twitter:
Thank you for the support,not a best day in the office!! Well done @cilic_marin— Tomáš Berdych (@tomasberdych) September 5, 2014
While Cilic gained the victory on Day 11, he now moves on to the daunting task of facing No. 2 Roger Federer in the semifinals. Federer cruised through the first four rounds of the tournament, but he struggled on Thursday against No. 20 Gael Monfils.
Federer has a career 5-0 record against Cilic.
(2) Roger Federer def. (20) Gael Monfils; 4-6, 3-6, 6-4, 7-5, 6-2
Thursday's final match was a tale of two halves, as it appeared Monfils was poised to upset Federer early, but allowed the No. 2 seed to get right back into the mix due to some ill-timed mistakes.
AP Sports tweeted the epic conclusion:
Through the first two sets, Monfils took command of the match. He showed aggressiveness when necessary and won nine out of a possible 10 net points over that span. While his serve wasn't exactly stellar, he made up for it with some fine volleys following his second serves. That propelled him to win 68 percent of those points in the first set and 89 percent in the second.
Federer rebounded nicely to win the third set with some precise, fundamental tennis. He only accrued one unforced error while producing 12 winners on the way to a 6-4 win to get back into the match.
The two remained even in the fourth set, but it was Monfils surging once again. He had the chance to close things out twice, and he failed each time on the return. After losing that game, he continued to fall apart, double-faulting twice to give Federer another game and eventually the set.
After the match, the No. 2 seed spoke of his mentality before winning the fourth set, via Tennis Inside Out:
"I thought...this is it. This is the last point, man. Just go down fighting, don't miss an easy shot & let him have it." #Federer— Tennis Inside Out (@TennisInsideOut) September 5, 2014
From there, the steady Federer cruised to a match victory after winning 92 percent of his first-serve points, 83 percent of his second-serve points and eight of a possible nine net points with only two unforced errors, completing a thrilling comeback.
Federer's magnificent run in this year's U.S. Open is alive and well, and he'll face off next against Cilic in the semifinals. Can he keep this streak going? Will we be rewarded with a Federer-vs.-Djokovic final? We'll know soon enough.