Roger Federer will seed a record-tying sixth Australian Open title Sunday night in Melbourne against Marin Cilic. Federer has been flawless thus far at the first Grand Slam of the tennis season, winning every set in his title defense.
The Croat comes in off wins over Pablo Carreno Busta, Rafael Nadal and in the semifinals Kyle Edmund.
Federer has won 8 of 9 against Cilic including two wins last year both in London, in the Wimbledon final and at the ATP Finals.
“I’m not looking at it as a revenge. I mean, it was on me that I couldn’t give my best in Wimbledon,” Cilic said.
“For me it’s great to again be in the final, giving myself another opportunity to win a Grand Slam. I’m playing very good tennis, and definitely very excited for the rest of 2018.”
Cilic’s lone win came at the 2014 US Open semifinals.
“I think overall consistently I’m playing better,” Cilic said in comparing his US Open title run to now. “I think I am performing better when you look at match after match.
“I think in US Open that was just amazing tennis that I played. But it was more difficult for me to keep it for a long period of time. Now I feel that with this kind of tennis that I can keep it throughout the season, and that’s my goal, in the end of the year that I look back and that I am happy about the performances on a consistent level.”
Federer is bidding for a 20th career Grand Slam title.
“I definitely think him winning the US Open, like Stan winning here a few years ago, it gave them great belief they can do it,” Federer said. “If the big moments come about, that they can attain this level. Not easily, but they can get there from time to time.
“I like his attitude. He’s very professional,” Federer added. “He’s always very much the same regardless of whether he wins or loses. I like that attitude. On the court, he’s a winner. You can see it on the way he behaves on the court. He’s there to win and not just to be there. Sometimes you see other players you feel like they’re happy to have made the quarters so far. I think he strives for more. I like those attitudes.”
* Defending champion FEDERER is bidding to win his 20th Grand Slam title and become just the 4th player – man or woman – to win 20 or more major titles.
* Federer is bidding to win his 6th Australian Open title and go joint-top on the list for most Australian men’s singles titles, ahead of Novak Djokovic and Roy Emerson.
* At 36 years 173 days, Federer is bidding to become the 3rd man in the Open Era to win 4 or more Grand Slam titles after turning 30, after Rod Laver and Ken Rosewall, who both won 4 major titles after their 30th birthdays.
* Federer is also bidding to win a 3rd Grand Slam title after turning 35. Rosewall is the only other man to have won major titles after his 35th birthday in the Open Era. By reaching the final at 2017 Wimbledon, Federer became the 2nd man in the Open Era, after Rosewall, to have reached multiple Grand Slam finals after turning 35.
* CILIC is bidding to become the first Croatian player – man or woman – to win the Australian Open title.
* Cilic is bidding to become the first Croatian player – man or woman – to win multiple Grand Slam titles. He won his only major title to date at the 2014 US Open, defeating Kei Nishikori in the final. Goran Ivanisevic and Iva Majoli are the only other Croatian players to have won a Grand Slam title.
* If Cilic wins the title here on his 10th Australian Open appearance, he will go top of the list for the most attempts before winning the Australian Open title.
* If Cilic wins his 2nd Grand Slam title on his 12th Grand Slam appearance since winning his first major title at the 2014 US Open, he will go into joint-2nd place on the list for the most attempts before winning a 2nd Grand Slam title in the Open Era.
HEAD-TO-HEAD: Federer leads 8-1
A 10th career meeting for the pair, their 7th on a hard court, their 5th at a Grand Slam, and their 2nd in a final.
Federer has won the pair’s 3 most recent meetings – including coming back from 0-2 down for the 10th time in his career to win in 5 sets in the quarterfinals at 2016 Wimbledon.
If Cilic wins today’s final in straight sets, he will become just the 5th player to defeat Federer in straight sets at a Grand Slam on 2 or more occasions. Only Novak Djokovic (3 times), Arnaud Clement, Alex Corretja and Rafael Nadal (all twice) have recorded multiple straight-sets wins against Federer at the majors.
SUNDAY AUSTRALIAN OPEN SCHEDULE
Mixed Doubles Final
T.Babos/R.Bopanna (5) vs G.Dabrowski/M.Pavic (8)
Men’s Singles Final
NOT BEFORE 7:30PM
M.Cilic (6) vs R.Federer (2)
WUNDERGROUND.COM SUNDAY FORECAST
Sunny. High 98F. Winds N at 10 to 20 mph.
Marin Cilic 10/3 vs Roger Federer 1/4
US TV SCHEDULE
ESPN will have live coverage of the men’s final at 3:30am ET.
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