10sBalls.com • TennisBalls.com

Roger Federer King Of Tennis Holds Off Marin Cilic For 20th Grand Slam Title • Sixth @ The Kia Australian Open

Winner Roger Federer of Switzerland holds his trophy after winning the men’s final match at the Australian Open Grand Slam tennis tournament in Melbourne, Australia, 28 January 2018. EPA-EFE/JULIAN SMITH



By Ricky Dimon


Not one, not two, not three, not four, not five…not 17, not 18, not 19…. No, Roger Federer now owns 20 career Grand Slam titles.


Roger Federer of Switzerland in action against Marin Cilic of Croatia during their men’s final match on day fourteen of the Australian Open Grand Slam tennis tournament in Melbourne, Australia, 28 January 2018. EPA-EFE/DEAN LEWINS

Federer extended his count to a full score–that’s 20, of course–by beating Marin Cilic 6-2, 6-7(5), 6-3, 3-6, 6-1 in the Australian Open final on Sunday night. The 36-year-old recovered from a brief fourth-set hiccup to triumph after three hours and three minutes of play.


For a while it looked like this one would not even go four sets. Federer had trounced Cilic 6-3, 6-1, 6-4 in the 2017 Wimbledon and more of the same appeared to be in the cards when a confident Swiss surged to a 4-0 lead at the expense of a struggling Cilic on Sunday. After a mere 24 minutes, the first set was over.


This time, however, Cilic was not beset by foot blisters and Federer was not quite as unflappable as he was on the lawn of London. The Croat managed to make their second head-to-head final in the span of three slams a much more competitive contest, starting in the second set. Both men saved multiple break points en route to a tiebreaker, which Cilic took seven points to five mainly thanks to forehand winners that gave him mini-breaks at 2-3 and 5-4.


Federer won the third almost as fast as he took the first, breaking for 4-2 and coasting the rest of the way. It appeared to be all but over when the world No. 2 earned another scalp of the Cilic serve right away in the fourth and got a look at another break chance at 3-1 for what would have given him a double-break advantage. From completely out of nowhere, however, Cilic string together five games in a row to steal the set and improbably force a decider.


But Federer was at his best with his back against the wall, just as he was last year when he won three five-set matches on the way to the Australian Open title. He fought off two break points in the opening game of the fifth against Cilic and that proved to be the underdog’s last gasp. Federer held for 1-0 and was off to the races, picking up breaks for 2-0 and 5-1.


It ended in similar fashion to the 2017 final against Rafael Nadal–on a challenge. When Federer’s out-wide serve at 40-0 was confirmed to be in, it was over.


“It’s amazing what you guys do year after year,” Cilic told Federer and his team, the combination of which has produced three titles in the last five slams. “It was an amazing journey for me to come here to the final. It could have been the best two weeks of my life. I had a slight chance at the beginning of the fifth set, but Roger played a great fifth set.”


“No idea,” Federer said when asked how much longer he can keep playing at this level. “Honest, I don’t know. I have no idea. I’ve won three slams now in 12 months. I can’t believe it myself. I just got to keep a good schedule, stay hungry, then maybe good things can happen.


“I’m so happy. It’s unbelievable. Of course, winning is just an absolute dream come true. The fairytale continues. After the great year i had last year, it’s incredible.”


Yes. Yes it is.


Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.

Winner Roger Federer (R) of Switzerland and runner up Marin Cilic of Croatia react during the awarding ceremony of the men’s final match at the Australian Open Grand Slam tennis tournament in Melbourne, Australia, 28 January 2018. EPA-EFE/TRACEY NEARMY

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *