Federer seals 20th Grand Slam title, wins Australian Open

Last Updated: Sun, Jan 28, 2018 18:58 hrs

Melbourne: Swiss ace Roger Federer defended his Australian Open crown by getting past Croatian Marin Cilic 6-2, 6-7, 6-3, 3-6, 6-1 in a rip-roaring men's singles final here on Sunday.

This is the 20th Grand Slam title of Federer's career. Federer looked in control in the first set but Cilic fought back to win the second which lasted for an hour.

Federer restored his lead in the third set before Cilic made it 2-2 with a superb win in the fourth.

At 36, but showing no signs of tiredness, Federer underlined his world class abilities to triumph in the final set and put daylight between him and the Croat.

The win saw Federer join an elite list where only three players in the history of the sport have won 20 or more Grand Slam titles - Steffi Graf (22), Serena Williams (23) and Margaret Court (24).

The victory also put Federer alongside Novak Djokovic and Roy Emerson with six Australian Open titles apiece.

In 2017, he beat arch-rival Rafael Nadal in five sets.

"It was a long day, waiting for the final. Easier to play in the afternoon. But at night when you play, you have to wait all day for the final.

"The fairytale continues for me. After the great year I had last year...it's incredible," Federer said at the presentation ceremony.

Federer is the first man to reach 30 Grand Slam finals and the oldest finalist in Melbourne since Ken Rosewall in 1972. Sunday's final was also the Swiss legend's 107th match at the Australian Open, the highest ever by any player.

A year ago, when he returned to the sport after a six-month hiatus, no one expected a comeback in this manner.

The 36-year-old hadn't won a Grand Slam in almost five years before roaring back at this very event to beat arch-rival Rafael Nadal in five sets.

"You fill the stadium, you make me nervous, and go out and practice. It would not be the same without you," Federer said to the fans before breaking down.

"I thank my team, I love you guys" he added.

Cilic, who fought hard, said he had a chance towards the start of the fifth set but then succumbed to Federer's superior class.

"I had a slight chance in the beginning of the fifth set but Roger played unbelievable tennis," Cilic said.

"It was a privilege playing here and I hope I will be playing here for many years to come," he added.

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