Australian Open 2018 - Men's final
Roger’s special: The Swiss Maestro wins his 20th major title!
Going into his 30th career major final Roger Federer was always considered the heavy favourite. He defeated Marin Cilic in the Australian Open final 6:2 6:7(5) 6:3 3:6 6:1 in 3 hours and 3 minutes to capture his 20th major title and sixth in Melbourne.
Federer started very well. His clean shots right on the lines and fast service games, usually lasting about a minute, overwhelmed Cilic who couldn’t do much damage himself. The Swiss quickly earned himself a 1-0 lead. In the second set Cilic started to fight back. He did enough to take the second set in the tiebreak 7:6(5). Federer quickly hit back taking the third set 6:3 and earning himself an advantage over the Croatian. In the forth set when it looked as though the match was going to end but there was yet another twist in the story. Cilic started hitting winners, Federer’s 1st serve percentage dropped to just 36% and the match had to be decided in the fifth set. In the first game Federer was still struggling with Cilic’s powerful returns and solid baseline play. But when he finally managed to hold his service game, saving two break points on the way, Cilic was done. He tried fighting and did get one game on the scoreboard but it was Federer who run away with the set and with that so did all of Cilic’s hopes to win his second major title. At the end, the match was decided with a hawkeye challenge, as Roger and Marin met at the net to shake hands.
Despite the loss Cilic had plenty of positives to look back on, “I was hitting the ball great. I was just playing phenomenal,” said the Croatian. “Then first game of the fifth set was more or less crucial at the end with having those... break points that I didn't convert. But looking overall, I'm really pleased with the performance,” he added, assessing his efforts, which included 45 winners and 16 aces. “[I] played great tennis over these two weeks. I had tough matches, tough opponents, beating Rafa [Nadal], reaching [the] final, which is definitely amazing. Looking at my own game, I think I improved a lot. I'm playing great tennis. That's really exciting for me for this 2018.”
The Swiss was very emotional in his post win speech, “I’m so happy, it’s unbelievable,” Federer said, trying really hard to keep his emotions in check. “I’m happy it’s over, but winning is just an absolute dream come true. The fairytale continues for me. After the great year I had last year, it’s incredible.”
But by the time he was thanking his team, he could hold back the tears no more. He had survived an incredible battle, and at the age of 36 had rewritten the record books yet again. This was beyond anything he could have imagined.
Roger is the third player in the Open Era to have won 20 or more majors, the other two being Serena Williams with 23 and Steffi Graff with 22. And he is not done yet...