The world number one produced a performance befitting of his ranking as he beat the Croat 6-0 6-1 6-2 in under 90 minutes to book a date with either Roger Federer or Stanislas Wawrinka in the showpiece.
Djokovic, a nine-time Grand Slam champion, has already won the Australian Open and Wimbledon this year, and was beaten by Wawrinka in the French Open final.
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Beaten by losing finalist Kei Nishikori in the semi-finals last year, the Serbian looked determined to atone for that defeat with a first-set rout in Flushing Meadows.
He broke the Cilic serve in the second game, with his third break point, en route to a commanding 5-0 lead. Cilic finally offered some resistance in the sixth game by pulling the score back to deuce on two occasions, but Djokovic would not be stopped.
Cilic held serve for the first time in the match to level up at one game apiece in the second set, but Djokovic broke the world number nine in the fourth and sixth game on his way to yet another one-sided set.
At 2-0 down in the third set, Djokovic looked on course for another whitewash but Cilic held serve and then broke his opponent to throw himself the slimmest of lifelines.
They proved false dawns, however, as barnstorming Djokovic won the next four games with relative ease to fire a warning to Federer and Wawrinka.