At the US Open: While the media focuses on the ageless Serena Williams and Roger Federer, while Novak Djokovic captivates crowds with his play and celebrations, while Andy Murray keeps frustrating opponents (and, with his sourness, the fans who want to love him), Marin Cilic quietly surges. There’s almost nothing to remind people of last year’s champion or even last year’s final — Cilic’s opponent when he won in 2014, Kei Nishikori, came into this year’s Open seeded No. 4. He promptly lost in the first round.
But Cilic keeps acing and pacing, looking stronger as matches wear on. He dispatched Jeremy Chardy 6-3, 2-6, 7-6 (2), 6-1 to move to the quarterfinals where he’ll face Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, also a player on a tear. Cilic has been pushed past three sets just twice, and both times he’s won the final set 6-1.