MELBOURNE (AFP) – Roger Federer powered home to beat Marin Cilic in five sets to win his sixth Australian Open and 20th Grand Slam title in a riveting final on Sunday.
The Swiss defending champion dropped his only sets of the tournament before completing a 6-2, 6-7 (5/7), 6-3, 3-6, 6-1 win over the sixth seeded Croatian in 3hr 3min.
Federer, playing in his 30th Grand Slam final, joined Novak Djokovic and Australian great Roy Emerson as joint top for the most Australian Open men’s titles.
He added to his already imposing win-loss record in Melbourne and is now 94-13. His overall his Grand Slam mark stands at 332-52.
The roof was closed over Rod Laver Arena as the tournament’s heat policy was implemented amid evening temperatures of 38 Celsius (100 Fahrenheit).
Cilic’s serve came under immediate pressure with a whipping backhand return winner for break point which the Croatian followed with a smash into the net for a break in the opening game.
The Croat was finding it difficult to settle and changed racquets in his second service game, but it had no obvious benefit as he dropped serve again after three break points to trail 0-3.
He finally held serve to get on to the board and trail 4-1 with Federer hitting the ball cleanly.
The Swiss star served out the first set in just 24 minutes after a double break and a shaky Cilic opening.
Federer fought off two break points in his opening service in the second set with pinpoint serves, while Cilic had a tussle before holding in the third game.
Cilic worked his way back into the match as both players traded furious forehands to stay on serve.