No. 1 Djokovic, No. 2 Federer easily reach US Open final

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NEW YORK (AP) Roger Federer is 34. It’s been more than three years since he won a Grand Slam title. He’s been considered past his prime for quite some time.

And he might just be playing some of the top tennis of his career at the moment.

Federer moved into his first U.S. Open final since 2009 with the latest in a string of dominating performances, overwhelming longtime pal and Swiss Olympic and Davis Cup teammate Stan Wawrinka 6-4, 6-3, 6-1 on Friday night.

“I’ve tried very hard in the last six years, I’ll tell you, to get back in another final,” Federer said. “Came close a few times.”

As for the quality of his play over the past two weeks – he has won all 18 sets he’s played and been broken only twice – Federer said: “It’s definitely very good. Maybe my best, I’m not sure. I’m serving very well. I’m playing positive tennis. I’m going for my shots, and it seems to work. I’d love it to work just one more time.”

Against Wawrinka, Federer saved all four break points he faced, won a “did-I-read-that-right?” 80 percent of his first serve points and limited himself to only 17 unforced errors.

Believe it or not, the other men’s match Friday was even less competitive: Novak Djokovic beat defending champion Marin Cilic 6-0, 6-1, 6-2, the most lopsided semifinal in New York in the Open era, which started in 1968.

“A lot of people are going to say it’s a little bit of (an) embarrassment to lose like that,” said Cilic, who explained that he was hampered by a right ankle injury he picked up in the fourth round and would have caused him to pull out of a lesser tournament.

Those results set up a blockbuster for Sunday’s final: No. 1 Djokovic, owner of nine major titles, against No. 2 Federer, owner of a record 17.

“There’s a lot on the line always when we play against each other,” said Federer, who beat Djokovic in the 2007 U.S. Open final but lost semifinals to him in 2010 and 2011, both 7-5 in the fifth set.

It is their record-tying 42nd career matchup overall – in the Open era, which dates to 1968, only Djokovic and Rafael Nadal have played each other that often) – and Federer leads 21-20. He won their most recent match, on a hard court last month at the Cincinnati Masters. This will be their sixth meeting of 2015, all in finals, and Djokovic has won three of those, including the Wimbledon final two months ago.

“We all know how consistent he is and how good he is in the latter stages of Grand Slams and any other big tournament,” Djokovic said. “He’s always going to perform on a high level. … He always makes you play your best.”

On the same day that Serena Williams’ bid for a calendar-year Grand Slam ended with a semifinal loss to Roberta Vinci, Djokovic made it to his fourth major final of the year. He won the Australian Open in January, lost to Wawrinka at the French Open in June, and won Wimbledon in July.

Federer won five consecutive U.S. Open titles from 2004-08, then lost to Juan Martin del Potro in the final six years ago.

For Djokovic, it’s his sixth trip to the final at Flushing Meadows. So far, though, he is 1-4, with his lone U.S. Open title coming in 2011.

Federer’s victory lasted 1 hour, 32 minutes. Djokovic’s went 1 hour, 25 minutes. So both should be well-rested by the time Sunday afternoon’s final rolls around.

Each will have a six-time major champion in his corner: Federer is coached by Stefan Edberg; Djokovic works with Boris Becker.

Edberg called Federer’s success at his current age “outstanding.”

“I retired at 30,” Edberg said. “I couldn’t take it anymore, mentally. Physically, I could’ve played another four or five years.”

Djokovic, who is 28, has won four Grand Slam titles since Federer’s last, which came at Wimbledon in 2012.

Against the ninth-seeded Cilic, Djokovic played cleanly and with just the right amount of caution, making only 13 unforced errors to his injured opponent’s 37.

“His game,” Cilic said, “doesn’t suit me so well.”

Now there’s an understatement. Djokovic has won all 14 of their matches.

His rivalry with Federer is far more intriguing.

This will be their 13th matchup at a Grand Slam tournament; Djokovic leads 7-6. It’s their fourth in a major final; Djokovic leads 2-1.

“He’s been really tough to beat, plus he’s tough mentally,” Federer said. “I like that challenge, and I’ll be ready for it.”

Follow Howard Fendrich on Twitter at http://twitter.com/HowardFendrich

Anderson beats Querrey to win New York Open title

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UNIONDALE, N.Y. (AP) Kevin Anderson had already dealt with the disappointment of falling short in a final in New York.

His surprising run to the U.S. Open final last summer jump-started his climb back into the top 10, but his loss to Rafael Nadal was a painful reminder that he kept coming up short at the finish line.

Back in New York this week, he finally got the ending he wanted.

The top seed won the first New York Open on Sunday, beating No. 2 seed Sam Querrey 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (1) for his fourth career ATP Tour title.

Anderson came into Sunday 3-11 in ATP Finals, with one loss already this year.

“I have been runner-up quite a few times in my career,” Anderson said. “One of the big goals I had for this year was to try to be a bit more successful in that final stage. I fell a little short earlier this year in India and it feels great to come through and get today’s win. So, gives me a lot of confidence for the year.”

The South African dominated the tiebreaker after a tight third set, winning the first six points and leading Querrey to slam his racket to the court in frustration.

Anderson will move to career-high ninth in the ATP rankings Monday, continuing a strong rise that began in nearby Flushing Meadows when he reached his lone Grand Slam final as the world’s No. 32 player, the lowest-ranked U.S. Open finalist since the inception of the rankings in 1973.

He won his first title since 2015, when he made his only other appearance in the top 10 when he was ranked 10th for one week in October. Anderson won four consecutive three-set matches in the tournament’s first year at Nassau Coliseum after moving from Memphis, Tennessee.

“Obviously, during U.S. Open was a terrific few weeks for me. It was tough to lose in the finals so it feels very special to get today’s win,” Anderson said.

Querrey remained at 10 ATP titles, snapping a three-match winning streak in finals. He would have risen to a career-best No. 11 with a victory.

Querrey had held serve in 37 of 38 games entering this week before Anderson broke him in the second game of the final for a 2-0 lead. Querrey broke right back and broke Anderson again later in the set to move ahead.

The second set started the same way. Anderson broke again in the second game, but this time held in the third to seize control of the set en route to a 5-0 lead.

“I just kind of lost a little bit of momentum,” Querrey said. “He picked his game up, he started making a few more first serves. Feel like he was hitting the ball a little bigger, making a few more. Then I kind of got some momentum back at the end of the second there but it was kind of too little, too late.”

In the doubles final, the second-seeded team of Max Mirnyi of Belarus and Philipp Oswald of Austria edged Wesley Koolhof of the Netherlands and Artem Sitak of New Zealand 4-6, 6-4, 10-6 in a match tiebreaker. For the 40-year-old Mirnyi, it was his 100th career ATP Tour final, with 96 having come in doubles.

Federer overpowers Dimitrov to win 97th career title

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ROTTERDAM, Netherlands (AP) Roger Federer came to the ABN AMRO World Tournament aiming to secure a return to the top of the world rankings. He achieved that goal Friday. On Sunday, he put an exclamation point on a remarkable week by winning the tournament for good measure.

Federer overpowered an ailing Grigor Dimitrov 6-2, 6-2 in less than an hour to win his 97th career title.

“What a week it’s been. Absolutely amazing,” Federer said. “The goal was to make the semis and I won the tournament so of course I’m incredibly excited and so, so happy.”

The 36-year-old Swiss extended his domination over the player once dubbed “Baby Fed” for the similarities in their playing style, registering his seventh victory in as many meetings.

Federer’s third title at the Rotterdam tournament comes a day before he officially returns to the top of the rankings, more than five years after he was last world No. 1.

He will become the oldest person to hold the No. 1 position when the rankings are updated on Monday. It’s been more than five years since Federer was last No. 1, and 14 years since he first reached the top spot.

Federer, who has 20 Grand Slams to his name, said his next target is 100 career titles. He moved a step closer Sunday.

Federer said ahead of the final that the more aggressive player would win and Dimitrov started the strongest, winning his first game to love as he slammed powerful forehands and backhands past Federer.

But the Swiss great quickly started matching Dimitrov’s groundstrokes and converted his first break point in the fifth game. Federer broke Dimitrov again to go up 5-2 and then served out the set.

Federer kept the pressure on Dimitrov in the second set, breaking the Bulgarian in the first game and continuing to dominate on his way to victory in just 55 minutes.

Federer won a massive 82 percent of points on his service compared to 55 percent for Dimitrov.

After his strong start, the Bulgarian appeared to be struggling physically, but said afterward that he simply wasn’t good enough.

“Against Roger in the current situation he is in you can’t play any less than 100 percent,” Dimitrov said.