By Ros Satar, in Melbourne
- Roger Federer  def. Marin Cilic  6-2 6-7(5) 6-3 3-6 6-1
- Wins a 20th Grand Slam title and a sixth Australian Open title
- Now just 155 points behind Rafael Nadal in the rankings
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – Under a closed roof, Roger Federer outlasted Marin Cilic to win a 20th Grand Slam title and a sixth Australian Open title.
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In an environment where a quick start is imperative, Cilic could not have started any worse. Swiftly broken twice in his first two games the feel of this set started to mirror that of the women’s final, as Federer established a 4-0 lead. Cilic was able to get on the board and keep his serves for the remainder of the set but Federer wrapped it up quickly and efficiently.
The second set was a lot more competitive, with Cilic even having a smattering of break point chances, and better still managing to fend off the break points on his ow serve. Squandering the first set point that came his way as once more the Croatian was able to put some scoreboard pressure on the Swiss could prove costly as Federer escaped from having the match levelled from underneath him, as the pair advanced to a tie-break.
Federer drew first blood with a mini-break only to lose the advantage straight away, only to hand it straight back. At the business end of the tie-break Cilic finally got a chance to put himself ahead finally making good on the two set points he earned (his third in the set) to level the match.
It was starting to look like we had a match on our hands with the frrst few games of the third set being very competitive, but a loose service game by Cilic opened the door for Federer to take a lead. Converting on the second break point, Federer kept the advantage, sealing the set set for a 2-1 lead comfortably.
The fourth set for Cilic started in the same as the first with an immediate break of his serve. Getting onto the board before the first changeover was vital in order to stay in contention with Federer. With Cilic frustrated with his box after having a racquet restrung, it looked as though mentally he had checked out of the match, but a rare lapse in Federer’s composure saw Cilic break him to love to set things back on an even keel.
Now suddenly the pressure was on and despite some rather dubious looking (lack of) calls, Cilic was starting to look dangerous in spells again, finally hetting the breakthrough on Federer’s serve and serving out comfortably to love to take the fourth set.
Cilic had his chances – two of them in fact – to start the set with a break, but instead failed to convert, and was broken himself at the start of the decider, with Federer jumping out to a 3-0 lead.
Despite Cilic getting himself on the board, the end was in sight and federer was sprinting for the finish opening up a 4-1 lead. A double break cusion was the virtual match point and the final nail in Cilic’s dreams of a second Grand Slam title.
Federer closed in for the kill with three championship points – he needed just the one, with Cilic mounting one last challenge to delay the celebrations as Federer claimed his 20th Slam title, his sixth Australian Open title, yet it leaves him 155 adrift of Rafael Nadal so he does not reclaim the World No. 1 spot.
More to follow.
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