By Steve Keating
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Top-seeded Serbian Novak Djokovic crushed defending U.S. Open champion Marin Cilic 6-0 6-1 6-2 on Friday to secure passage to his fourth consecutive grand slam final.
Djokovic, playing on the same court where women's world number one Serena Williams and Romanian second seed Simona Halep were surprisingly sent packing from the tournament earlier, needed just 85 minutes to end Cilic's title defense.
The beat down was the worst ever in a U.S. Open semi-final, the three games lost one fewer than the four Yevgeny Kafelnikov managed against Lleyton Hewitt in 2001.
With the rout, Djokovic ran his record to 14-0 against the ninth-seeded Croat and moved one win away from adding to his 2015 grand slam triumphs at the Australian Open and Wimbledon.
The Serbian world number one will face five-times U.S. Open winner Roger Federer, of Switzerland, in the final on Sunday.
"Expectations are always there from myself and from the people around me," said Djokovic, who has one U.S. Open victory on his resume and has now reached the final six times. "I came here with a wish and a mission, as well, to reach the finals and fight for the trophy.
"So I got myself in that position. It's already a great result. But I want to get that final step on Sunday and get my hands on that trophy."
Cilic entered the contest riding a 12 match win streak on the Flushing Meadows hardcourts but it became clear very early that he would have a difficult time extending it as Djokovic tore through the opening set in just 24 minutes.
The big-hitting Croat, who confirmed later he was carrying a foot injury into the match, held his opening serve in the second but Djokovic had him quickly under pressure again with an early break, charging in front 4-1.
A razor sharp Djokovic, who converted eight of 14 break chances, remained ruthless to the very end, showing the wounded Cilic no mercy.
"Well, I knew that I'm not 100 percent, even the last match I wasn't feeling 100 percent," said Cilic. "The foot was causing me obviously some trouble with the movement but Novak was able to expose me much more today.
"Even coming before the match and thinking if I'm going to play or not, I decide to play, as it's a grand slam tournament, it's deep in the tournament."
(Editing by Andrew Both)