Marin Cilic handed Roger Federer “a tennis lesson” in the semi-finals of the U.S. Open on Saturday, his coach Goran Ivanisevic said.
The former Wimbledon champion, who began working with Cilic last summer, watched from the stands as his fellow Croat blew the five-times champion off the court 6-3 6-4 6-4 to reach his first grand slam final.
“I felt proud today(Saturday),” Ivanisevic told a small group of reporters at Flushing Meadows.
“This is (just) his second (grand-slam) semi-final and to watch him playing against probably the best player ever and giving him a tennis lesson, it’s unbelievable.
“He beat him in every aspect of the game, he was serving well, playing well. Before the match we spoke about how he should play, he stuck with the plan from the first to last point and I can only as a coach be proud as everything is paying off.”
The 14th seed Cilic served three consecutive aces in the last game before smashing a backhand down the line to win it and set up a final against 10th seed Kei Nishikori of Japan.
Ivanisevic, who was renowned as a brilliant server and who won Wimbledon in 2001, admitted he was nervous watching Cilic try to close out victory.
“The game at 4-3 (in the third set), the game against the wind, he served amazing. So then I said: ‘OK, let him have at least one ace because I knew he’s going to be nervous and because you never know with Roger, he’s never gone.
“But three aces in a row, is just beautiful. Just beautiful. It’s just like watching myself.”
Ivanisevic said they had worked a lot on Cilic’s serve.
“But that last game, three aces, one backhand winner is just an amazing, amazing game and overall, everything was working great for him,” the coach said.
Ivanisevic said both Cilic and Nishikori would probably be nervous before Monday’s final but that his man should just keep on doing what he’s been doing.
“He really worked hard and he started really to play well at the French Open,” Ivanisevic said.
“He (kept on) building at Wimbledon and then this is just amazing, the last two matches, this is perfection, you can’t play better than he played today.( Saturday)”