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U.S. Open: Roger Federer beats Marin Cilic; Caroline Wozniacki wins

September 3, 2011 |  1:19 pm


Roger Federer is aiming to win a sixth U.S. Open title, which would be a record. He shares the record of five with Pete Sampras and Jimmy Connors, and he's also trying to be the first man age 30 or older to win a major title since Andre Agassi won the 2003 Australian Open at 30 (Sampras won the U.S. Open as a 30-year-old in 2002).

The third-seeded Federer moved into the fourth round Saturday, beating 27th-seeded Marin Cilic of Croatia, 6-3, 4-6, 6-4, 6-2, at Arthur Ashe Stadium, but nothing about the victory, Federer's 226th Grand Slam win, was easy.

Cilic, who is 6-foot-6, won the second set with a sudden service break in the 10th game. The winning point was set up by a massive forehand near the line, one that Federer could only lunge at.

After the two players exchanged service breaks to start the third set, it was Federer who struck late. He earned a break point with a whipping one-handed backhand that landed near the sideline. Even the lanky Cilic couldn't lunge far enough to do anything except put the ball in the net. On the next point, after Cilic's first serve had been long, he bounced the ball several times and was given a warning for delay of game. This seemed to unnerve the Croatian, who put the second serve into the net. That double fault gave Federer a 5-4 lead, and he served out the set to take a 2-1 lead.

As the crowd roared, Federer served out the match, going up 40-0 and then earning a second serve winner when Cilic's backhand effort landed in the net. Federer, wearing a bright red shirt and charcoal shorts, shook the sweat from his hair and applauded the crowd. A year ago, he had failed to reach the finals for the first time since 2004 when he lost to Novak Djokovic, this year's top seed, in the semifinals.

In other action, top-seeded Caroline Wozniacki struggled with her serve but still beat unseeded Vania King of Long Beach, 6-2, 6-4, in 1 hour, 36 minutes

"It's quite windy out there," Wozniacki said, "so it was difficult to play. Definitely the serve was difficult as well, because it wasn't just going one way. With the wind, it was going everywhere. You had the keep a good margin over the net and near the lines."

King, 22, expressed disappointment that she didn't take advantage of what she said were ample opportunities to win. "It's a pity," she said. "I had a lot of break point chances in the first, I felt, a lot. She was a little more aggressive than I was."

-- Diane Pucin in New York

Photo: Roger Federer reaches for a volley against Marin Cilic on Saturday at the U.S. Open. Credit: Justin Lane / EPA