Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Final Four in Men's U.S. Open Is Tough Group

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Final Four in Men's U.S. Open Is Tough Group

Article excerpt

NEW YORK * More than three years have passed since Roger Federer won a Grand Slam title.

That's not to say he hasn't played well in the meantime: As he likes to point out, it takes some doing just to make it to the latter stages of a major tournament, and Federer has managed to continue to do that.

His seemingly effortless trip to the U.S. Open semifinals Federer has won all 15 sets he's played entering Friday, dropping only 44 games along the way marks his sixth run to that round in the past 11 majors.

And yet when Federer was asked about being two wins away from grabbing another trophy, he noted that there is plenty of work left.

"Hours of work and sleeps and waits and nerves and all that. It's still a long way," Federer said. "I feel like I'm close, of course. You enter now a territory which is very interesting."

On Friday, the No. 2-seeded Federer will face No. 5 Stan Wawrinka in a matchup pitting a pair of pals who won a gold medal for Switzerland in doubles at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. That will come after No. 1 Novak Djokovic meets No. 9 Marin Cilic, the defending champion.

They form quite a quartet.

It's the first time since 1995's group of Pete Sampras, Andre Agassi, Jim Courier and Boris Becker (who now happens to coach Djokovic) that all of the U.S. Open men's semifinalists have won a Grand Slam title.

Federer, of course, leads the way among this year's foursome with a record 17, including five in New York.

Djokovic has won nine major titles, including at the Australian Open and Wimbledon this season, but despite reaching his ninth consecutive semifinal at the U.S. Open, he's only left with a trophy once, in 2011.

Wawrinka is a two-time major champion, including at the French Open in June.

And Cilic's only appearance in a Grand Slam final came at the U.S. Open a year ago.

"These guys that are left in the tournament," Cilic said, "they are very dangerous. …

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