New York: Saturday will be a special day in Marin Cilic's life when he will step on to the court at the Arthur Ashe Stadium for the US Open men's singles semifinal and will try to reach a stage of a Grand Slam tournament where he's never been before.
"I feel that I am playing very well and I think this is a great chance to achieve something that I have never done before in my career. The feeling is phenomenal and I hope that this US Open will stay forever in my memory," the top Croatian tennis player said after he beat Czech Tomas Berdych in the quarterfinal of the 2014 US Open Friday, reports Xinhua.
This is a second time in his career that Cilic will have a chance to earn a place in a Grand Slam final.
He was a 21-year-old up and coming youngster when he played his first semifinal at the 2010 Australian Open. He was leading a set and a break against Andy Murray of Britain before he ran out of gas as a consequence of two five set victories against two top 10 players, Argentinean Juan Martin del Potro and American Andy Roddick.
It has taken him almost five years to get to this stage of a Grand Slam tournament again.
"I deserve to be among the best four. I feel that I belong here. I had great results this summer. The draw has opened up a little bit and I played good when I needed it. It feels great to be back in the semifinals," said Cilic, who will face 17 times Grand Slam champion, Swiss Roger Federer, whom he has never beaten in their five previous encounters.
"I feel that my game is heading in the right direction. I am playing well, serve is perfect and overall I made some improvements. I had a few tough loses in a close matches with the best players in the world, against Novak Djokovic in Wimbledon and against Roger Federer in Toronto. I did lose, but I learned from those matches that showed me I am on the right track."
The man behind Cilic's transformation from a good player to a serious contender for the coveted prize is Goran Ivanisevic. He was the last Croatian that made it to the last four at the US Open in 1996 and he is the only male Croatian tennis player to win a singles Grand Slam title in that famous 2001 Wimbledon final when he beat Patrick Rafter.
"I feel like Goran is in the semis again. It's great feeling what we have done in our first full year together on the ATP Tour. I hope I can go even further than he did 18 years ago. I will give it my best and hope for a positive result."