MELBOURNE, Australia – Defending champion Roger Federer, of Switzerland, won his record-extending 20th Grand Slam title on Sunday, defeating Croatia’s Marin Cilic 6-2, 6-7 (5), 6-3, 3-6, 6-1 in the Australian Open final.
“It’s been a long journey, but very much worthwhile,” Federer said.
The historic victory also made the 36-year-old Federer the oldest Australian Open winner since 1972, and his sixth title in Melbourne tied Serbian star Novak Djokovic’s record.
“You guys make me nervous. You guys make me practice. You guys fill the stadiums. Thank you,” Federer said.
The second-seeded Federer fired 24 aces and finished with 41 winners, compared to Cilic’s 16 aces and 45 winners.
The night match, which lasted just over three hours, was played with Rod Laver Arena’s retractable roof closed due to the stifling heat outside.
Federer will remain the world No. 2 when the new ATP rankings are released on Monday, but he closed to within 115 points of Spanish world No. 1 Rafael Nadal, who retired during the quarterfinals against Cilic due to an injury.
“It was an amazing journey for me to come here to the final, it could’ve been the best two weeks of my life,” Cilic, the No. 6 seed, said after the match.
“It’s my honor to play in front of you,” Cilic said.
Federer routed Cilic in straight sets in the Wimbledon final last year.