MELBOURNE, Australia — Again the place his profession resurgence started with a drought-breaking triumph final yr, Roger Federer cried as he lifted and kissed the Australian Open trophy for a sixth time and celebrated his 20th Grand Slam title.
Federer began Sunday’s last with an depth that shocked sixth-seeded Marin Cilic, then held his nerve in a tense, momentum-shifting match earlier than successful 6-2, 6-7 (5), 6-Three, Three-6, 6-1.
After going greater than 4 years with out successful a significant title main into final yr’s Australian Open, Federer has now gained three of the final 5.
“I am so completely satisfied. It is unbelievable,” Federer stated, taking deep breaths and choking again tears. “In fact, successful is an absolute dream come true — the fairytale continues for us, for me, after the nice yr I had final yr, its’ unbelievable.”
The nice Rod Laver, who lends his title to the middle court docket at Melbourne Park, was within the crowd taking photographs to mark the event of Federer turning into the primary man to win 20 majors.
Federer began to tear up on the finish of the trophy ceremony as he thanked his staff within the stands. “I like you guys. Thanks,” he stated. He then acquired a standing ovation as tears streamed down his face.
On the age of 36 years, 173 days, Federer turned the second-oldest man to win a Grand Slam title within the Open period after Ken Rosewall, who gained the 1972 Australian Open at 37.
“Large congratulations to Roger and his staff — it is superb what you guys do,” Cilic stated. “It was a tremendous journey for me to come back right here to the ultimate. I had a slight likelihood firstly of the fifth, however Roger performed an incredible fifth set.”
It was clear early on that the gang could be closely pro-Federer. The world was crammed with the purple and white colours of the Swiss flag, with Federer supporters carrying Swiss flags on their shirts, hats, indicators and faces. Waiting for a attainable Federer victory, one fan held an indication studying, “The Large Two-Oh. Go Roger!”
Federer was fast off the mark, getting service breaks within the first and third video games and forcing Cilic to go to his gear bag for a brand new racket after simply 12 factors. Federer solely conceded two factors on his serve within the opening set, which lasted simply 24 minutes and was performed underneath a closed roof due to the warmth outdoors.
However Cilic rallied within the second, getting his large forehand working and, after lacking a set level on Federer’s serve within the 10th recreation, leveled the match within the tiebreaker.
Federer gained the third set in 29 minutes and was up a break within the fourth however momentum swung totally once more, with Cilic happening a roll to degree the match. Federer’s first-serve proportion plummeted from above 80 within the third set to 36 within the fourth as Cilic attacked.
Cilic had two probabilities to interrupt Federer’s serve within the first recreation of the fifth set, however wasted them each with two unforced errors. He then double-faulted twice within the second recreation to drop his personal serve, giving Federer the decisive lead within the set.
Federer had gained eight of their earlier 9 matches, together with final yr’s Wimbledon last. His solely defeat was within the semifinals of the U.S. Open in 2014, the place Cilic claimed his first main title.
The Swiss nice wasn’t about to lose this one. Federer elevated his degree once more, breaking Cilic once more within the sixth recreation after which closing out at love — his celebrations delayed barely by an unsuccessful problem from Cilic on match level. It was the same finish to his five-set win over Rafael Nadal right here final yr and, identical to 12 months in the past, the tears flowed.
The win wasn’t solely with out some controversy with organizers deciding early to shut the roof for the ultimate, simply as that they had for the afternoon blended doubles last when Mate Pavic and Gabriela Dabrowski beat Rohan Bopanna and Timea Babos for the title.
Former champions and commentators questioned the rationale, saying there’d been hotter days earlier within the match when the warmth coverage was not enacted.
Event referee Wayne McEwen can introduce the coverage when the temperature reaches 40 levels Celsius (104 Fahrenheit) and a measure known as the wet-bulb globe temperature — which mixes elements resembling warmth, humidity and breeze — reaches 32.5C (90.5F).
The temperature hit 38C (100F) an hour earlier than the boys’s last and the match organizers issued an announcement saying that the WGBT studying was 32.7C (91F) at the moment.
“With no dramatic discount forecast, the referee exercised his discretion and known as for the roof to be closed,” Tennis Australia stated in an announcement. “At no different time through the occasion this yr has the WBGT studying reached the brink.”