Roger Federer Holds Off Marin Cilic to Win Sixth Australian Open Title for His 20th Major
?20. ❤️ pic.twitter.com/WqUiSo3fd5
— Roger Federer (@rogerfederer) January 28, 2018
(January 28, 2018) Defending champion Roger Federer won his sixth Australian Open title, his twentieth major overall, defeating sixth seed Marin Cilic 6-2, 6-7(5), 6-3, 3-6, 6-1 in the final on Sunday in Melbourne.
The 36-year-old Swiss has now won three out of the past five majors, after having a five-year drought in winning major titles, dating back to 2012. He became the second-oldest man to win a major in the Open Era since Ken Rosewall at the Australian Open did it at 37 in 1972.
For losing finalist, 2014 US Open winner Cilic of Croatia, this was his third major final.
“I’m so happy. It’s unbelievable,” Federer said during the trophy ceremony. “Of course, winning is an absolute dream come true, the fairytale continues for me.”
Fighting back tears, Federer said: “After the great year I had last year, it’s incredible.”
Federer was off to a quick start in the first set going up 4-0, winning the set 6-2. Cilic rebounded in the second set tiebreak. Federer went up two sets to one with a break to go up 3-1 in the fourth set. To his credit, Cilic soared with five straight games to win level the match at two sets apiece. Federer found his first serve again in the fifth set and raised his level, dominating the final set 6-1.
Due to heat conditions, the temperature at 100 degrees Fahrenheit, the match was played under a closed roof. Federer was asked about this to which he responded:
“I wasn’t sure if it was good for me or not, to play under the roof or not. Of course, I backed myself in sort of indoor conditions. This is where my first success ever came. I do think back that usually when I play indoors, it’s good for me.
“But I didn’t mind the heat, to be honest. I thought maybe for a bigger guy like Marin, maybe it’s also going to slow him down faster throughout the match. At the end, it’s not my decision. They kept me posted along the way.
“I was surprised to hear they had the heat rule in place for a night match. I never heard that before. When I arrived to the courts, I was totally ready to play outdoors. They told me they were thinking — they think it will probably be indoor. Then they kept me posted along the way.
“Half an hour before, we got the word that it’s going to be indoors. For me, it doesn’t change anything in the preparation, to be honest. I was ready for either.”
ESPN had reported that women’s finalist Simona Halep had gone to the hospital for dehydration after the match. Tennis Australia said that this had no bearing on closing the roof during the men’s final.
Clic blamed his slow start on the closed roof.
“I have to say that decision, could it have been different? I guess so. I think that it was just little bit difficult to adjust, especially the beginning of the match,” Cilic said. “With the roof closed, it was way, way cooler than I expected. That was very, very difficult, especially for the final to be in that kind of a situation.”
“I had a slow start in the match,” he said. “Then catching up most of the time.”
Cilic will rise to a career-high No. 3 ranking on Monday.
Getting to 20 is obviously very, very special, no doubt, Federer said to media.
Federer has now won three out of the last five major titles, the other two were won by Rafael Nadal.
“I’ve won three Slams now in 12 months. I can’t believe it myself,” said Federer. “I just got to keep a good schedule, stay hungry, then maybe good things can happen. I don’t think age is an issue.”