By Charles Ofoji
36-year-old Roger Federer has rewritten tennis history by beating sixth seeded Marin Cilic of Croatia in five sets 6-2,6-7,6-3,6-1 to win the Australian open for the sixth time in a thrilling final match in Melbourne, equaling the record of Novak Djokovic und Roy Emerson.
Cilic fought back to force a decisive fifth set after Federer wobbled in the middle of the third to blow a 3-1 lead. The Croat levelled, served flawless to win it at 6-3, with his opponent battling with his nerves.
The former world number one dug deep into his experience to regain his composure in the final set, breaking early to lead 3-0. And from that point it became a one-way traffic and Federer left no one in doubt how the match would end.
The victory also sealed his 20th grand slam title, a magical number no other male player before him had achieved. The only female players to have crossed that threshold are, Margaret Court (24), Serena Williams (23) und Steffi Graf (22).
He has now won a total of 96 career titles.
“I’m so happy it’s unbelievable. This is a dream come true, the fairytale continues for me,” Federer said at the presentation.
“This one tonight reminded me more of 2006 here when I beat Marcos Baghdatis in the final and had a great run to the final and was a huge favourite going in,” he later explained.
“I was keeping the composure and I was just so relieved when everything was said and done and I think I felt the same way tonight and that’s why I couldn’t speak, it was terrible.”
It was also Federer’s 30th grand slam final – no other player had played in so much finals.
Despite the victory, the Swiss, who did not drop a set on his way to the final, will remain world number two with 9605 points, behind Spain’s Rafael Nadal (9760).