Watershed moment for Marin Cilic

NEW YORK -- A year ago, Marin Cilic was at home in Monte Carlo, watching the US Open on television. He was serving a drug suspension and his tennis future looked murky at best.

On Thursday, he recorded the victory of his life, beating No. 6 seed Tomas Berdych 6-2, 6-4, 7-6 (4). Amid the gusting winds at Arthur Ashe Stadium, Cilic served (19 aces) as well as he ever has.

"I think adjusted better than Tomas," Cilic said afterward. "Today I was serving good through the wind. I am very happy."

It's the second Grand Slam semifinal of his career -- the first came nearly five years ago at the Australian Open, when he was just 21. He's the first Croatian to reach the semifinals at the US Open since his coach, Goran Ivanisevic, did it in 1996. Cilic, the No. 14 seed, entered the match with a 3-5 head-to-head record against Berdych but has now won six consecutive sets, going back to his third-round victory at Wimbledon.

His semifinal opponent? The winner of Thursday night's match, No. 1 Roger Federer.

Will this be No. 100?

The Bryan brothers are so close they can taste it.

The California twins are one match from winning their 100th doubles title.

For a little context, consider that the second-place total is 61 by the Australian duo of Todd Woodbridge and Mark Woodforde. The Bryans also are going for their 16th Grand Slam championship, another record.

They're into the US Open final after dispatching first-time Grand Slam semifinalists and fellow Americans Scott Lipsky and Rajeev Ram 6-4, 4-6, 6-3.

"Going for 100 on Sunday will be special," Mike Bryan said. "We've been playing together since the womb. We have the ultimate twin communication."

What will they do to prepare for their match against the No. 11-seeded team of Marcel Granollers and Marc Lopez, who took out No. 4 Ivan Dodig and Marcelo Melo 6-4, 6-4?

"Bob's taking the kids to Central Park," Mike said, "and I'm going to try and stop thinking about No. 100."

Also at stake: They need a win to add to their nine-year streak of winning at least one major each year.

The women's doubles final on Saturday will feature No. 4 seed Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina of Russia, who defeated Kimiko Date-Krumm and Barbora Zahlavova Strycova 7-5, 6-3. They will meet the unseeded team of Martina Hingis and Flavia Pennetta, who dispatched No. 3 seed Cara Black and Sania Mirza 6-2, 6-4.

Hingis will be playing in her first Open doubles final since winning here in 1998.

Experts' picks

The yearlong Grand Slam competition comes down to the last two US Open singles matches on Sunday and Monday. It's a three-horse race.

ESPN.com writer Kamakshi Tandon leads the pack with 96 points, but her choice of Maria Sharapova as the women's winner means her maximum possible score -- if Federer wins the men's crown -- is 112.

Television analyst Mary Joe Fernandez (87 points) still has a chance to surpass that if Serena Williams and Novak Djokovic win the titles.

ESPN.com tennis editor Matt Wilansky (75) could conceivably win if Federer and Serena come through.

Tiafoe through to quarters

Francis Tiafoe was practically born to be a tennis player.

His father, Constant, helped to construct the Juniors Tennis Champions Center in College Park, Maryland, in 1999 -- a year after Francis and his twin brother, Franklin, were born. Constant soon became the head of maintenance there, and the boys grew up at the facility.

At the 2013 Orange Bowl, Tiafoe became the youngest boys' champion ever. At the 2014 Easter Bowl, he became the youngest junior to win back-to-back titles since John McEnroe in 1976.

This week, Francis, the No. 6 seed in the US Open boys' junior tournament, has continued to distinguish himself. On a day when three of his fellow Americans failed in their bid to reach the quarterfinals, Tiafoe succeeded.

The 16-year-old defeated Brazil's Marcelo Zormann 6-4, 5-7, 6-3 in a match that ran 1 hour, 59 minutes. Next up: No. 1 seed Andrey Rublev of Russia, who took down 14th-seeded Taylor Harry Fritz of the United States 6-4, 6-0.

Joining Tiafoe in the quarters is fellow American Stefan Kozlov, a Wimbledon junior finalist and No. 4 seed. He defeated unseeded Seong-chan Hong of South Korea 6-3, 2-6, 6-3.

No. 3 seed Jared Donaldson of Providence, Rhode Island, fell to Omar Jasika of Australia, 6-4, 6-3 and American Henrik Wiersholm lost to No. 7 seed Duckhee Lee of South Korea 6-1, 6-2.

Tornado Alicia Black, a 16-year-old from Boca Raton, Florida, booked her place in the girls' junior event. She took down Vera Lapko of Bulgaria 6-2, 6-0. Her next opponent? Caroline Dolehide (U.S.), who beat No. 6 Jil Belen Teichmann of Switzerland 7-5, 6-1.

Also through is Katerina Stewart, a 17-year-old from Miami, who defeated Anna Bondar of Hungary 6-4, 6-2. She will play Greetje Minnen of Belgium, who surprised Natalia Vikhlyantseva of Russia 6-3, 6-2. Vikhlyantseva had beaten No. 1 seed CiCi Bellis in the first round.

Raveena Kingsley (U.S.) fell to No. 11 Anna Kalinskaya of Russia 6-4, 6-2.