Toronto, Canada – By Greg Stutchbury
The Scot overcame a slow start to get past the towering Croat 3-6 6-4 6-4 6-2 and set up an opportunity to end Britain's 74-year-wait for a men's grand slam champion.
It will be the second grand slam final for the 22-year-old, who was beaten by Federer in the 2008 U.S. Open final.
"He (Cilic) showed incredible guts... he made it so tough for me and fought right till the end," Murray said in a courtside interview. "We're going to have more great matches in the future."
Murray held a 3-1 career record over Cilic but when the pair last met in the fourth round of last year's U.S. Open the Croat thrashed the heavily-favored Scot in three sets.
Cilic had played three five-set matches on his way to the semi-finals and spent more than 18 hours on court.
Murray had not dropped a set but the 14th seeded Croat ended that streak at the first attempt after breaking twice.
The Briton appeared dazed in the second set, seemingly unable to break serve before producing an amazing display of speed and court craft to set up a break point in the fifth game.
A Cilic drive hit the net cord and dropped on Murray's side. The 22-year-old managed to retrieve it, produced a reflex backhand volley, then turned and ran down a lob to drive a winner past the lunging Croat, bringing the crowd to their feet.
Murray let out an almighty yelp reminiscent of a Highlands battle cry and then sealed the crucial break that he held to seal the set.
"I just managed to chase it down. Honestly, I actually practice this shot quite a lot in training... and it was a very good shot and I managed to turn it around from there."
The match continued to be dominated from the baseline as both players hammered away in the third set, with Murray breaking in the third game before Cilic immediately struck back.
Murray, however, immediately set about quickening the pace in an effort to exploit Cilic's fatigue from previous exertions, and he broke again which allowed him to take the set.
The fight appeared to disappear from Cilic early in the fourth set when a double fault gave Murray a break in the third game, and a lucky net cord in the fifth allowed the Scot to break again.
While Cilic then managed to hold serve he was only delaying the inevitable, highlighted when Murray ran down a shot and hit an angled return from the tramlines that did not even go over the net but still landed in for a 30-15 lead in the final game.
The Briton then sealed the victory when Cilic's service return sailed over the baseline.
(Editing by Ken Ferris)