Twenty times special! I don’t know what to tell you. It would be amazing. Roger Federer
Intriguing final in prospect
By Roger Childs
Back in 2012 at Wimbledon, Roger Federer won his 17th grand slam and most experts predicted it would be his last.
In the following years Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray and Rafael Nadal had the edge, and the Swiss maestro had some injury concerns. Furthermore he was now in his thirties and the end of his career seemed nigh.
Fast forward to this time last year, Fed met arch rival Rafa and won in a five set thriller in Melbourne. Then he went on to win Wimbledon without dropping a set.
Now he faces Marin Cilic in the Australian Open final and victory would give him a record breaking 20th major.
Easy wins in the semi-finals
The two finalists had comfortable wins in the semis because of injuries to their younger opponents. Cilic beat the unseeded 23 year old Brit, Kyle Edmund, 6-2, 7-6, 6-2. Unfortunately Edmund had a hip problem from the second set on and after having matched the more experienced Croat in the first two, couldn’t compete in the third set.
Federer faced the very promising Korean Hyeon Chung who had thrashed Djokovic in the fourth round. The Swiss maestro gave the young man a tennis lesson in the first set exhibiting some of his best tennis with speed, power, balance and style.
Sadly Chung had to pull out in the second set with blister problems. Federer praised the Korean in his after match comments, comparing him to Djokovic and predicting top 10 ranking and more.
Kyle Edmund and Hyeon Chung are definitely stars of the future.
Can Federer beat Cilic?
He has a huge incentive with number 20 grand slam beckoning. However the Croat is playing very well. Powerful ground strokes and a booming serve coming down from 6 foot 6 inches make Cilic a tough opponent.
Federer always has the X factor, but needs to be aggressive from the start. In his quarter final against Tomas Berdych he lost his opening service game and was a trifle lucky to take the first set to a tie-break. However at this stage he was playing his best tennis and won the breaker 7-1.
He is a risk taker and can be unpredictable. However, this is one of his strengths and his opponents are not sure what sort of game he will play. Cilic will however, expect the Swiss to come to the net often and knows about his superb volleying skills.
The Croat has beaten Federer before, notably in the semi-final in the 2014 US Open semi-final on his way to his only grand slam victory.
It’s a tough one to pick, however it is very likely that the Melbourne crowd will be in for another quality singles final.