The final of the men’s 2018 Australian Open is upon us as defending champion Roger Federer takes on first time finalist Marin Cilic for the season’s opening grand slam title. The two most consistent performers of the two weeks have found a way to reach this final, as they setup a rematch of last season’s Wimbledon final. While Marin Cilic is into the final here in Melbourne for the first time, Roger Federer is seeking a record-equalling sixth Australian Open title. The Swiss great came into this tournament as the defending champion and if he was to go on to win this title for the sixth time he would win a historic twentieth grand slam title in the process. This will be Cilic’s first Australian Open final, and he couldn’t have asked for a tougher opponent to beat if he is to go on and claim a second grand slam title.
Roger Federer has continued the imperious form he shows for much of last season here in Melbourne, as the thirty-six-year-old moved to within one victory of retaining his title. Federer is yet to drop a set on his way to this final, as his semi-final match failed to live up to expectations. Hyeon Chung was supposed to be a real challenge for Federer, but an injury forced the Next Gen champion to retire late in the second set after being 1-0 down. This followed earlier victories over Aljaz Bedene, Jan Lennard Struff, Richard Gasquet, Marton Fucsovics and Tomas Berdych, as Federer once again eased to the final here. This will be Federer’s seventh appearance in this final, and after winning five of his previous six finals here you wouldn’t bet against him winning it again. Federer is looking to win yet another grand slam tournament without dropping a set, something he once again achieved at last year’s Wimbledon, and he’s facing an opponent he’ll be confident of achieving that against. Can the Swiss great win a super sixth Aussie Open title?
Marin Cilic is into his first Australian Open final, as the Croatian number one looks to win a second grand slam title. Cilic won the 2014 US Open title, defeating Federer along the way, while he also reached last summer’s Wimbledon final, which shows he’s no stranger when it comes to appearing in grand slam finals. Cilic has had to work harder than Federer to reach this final, but he’s produced a solid enough game to do so. The Croatian, who’s now up to number three in the world, saw off Vasek Pospisil, Joao Sousa, Ryan Harrison and Pablo Carreno Busta on his way to the quarter-finals, where world number one Rafael Nadal was waiting. In a match that swung one way and then the next, Cilic prevailed after Nadal was forced to retire, with the score at two sets a piece. This setup a showdown with Brit Kyle Edmund in the semi-finals, and in the end Cilic made light work of his opponent by easing to a straight-sets victory. Can Cilic win a second grand slam title and first in Melbourne?
The previous meetings between these two have been dominated by Roger Federer, the Swiss ace seems to love playing Marin Cilic. Federer has won eight out of their nine meetings, including five out of their six on a hard court. Their biggest meeting came at the before mentioned Wimbledon final last year, a match Federer won in straight-sets as Cilic noticeably suffered with an injury. Cilic’s only win against Federer came way back in 2014 at the US Open, as Cilic produced arguably the performance of his career in winning in straight-sets on his way to claiming the title. While Federer has been here and done it all before, this will be Cilic’s first experience of an Australian Open final and so he can’t allow the occasion to get the better of him. A glimmer of hope Cilic can cling onto is the fact Federer has not successfully defended a grand slam title since he defended his US Open title a decade ago in 2008. Can Cilic find a way to stop Federer’s winning machine, or will Federer once again reign supreme in Melbourne?
Roger Federer 3-0 Correct Score
Federer has been on top of his game all tournament and I don’t see him coming unstuck here. The Swiss ace clearly has the mental advantage over his opponent, and I’m sure their recent Wimbledon final will be fresh in both player’s minds. If Cilic is to beat Federer then he needs to forget their previous matches and just treat this as a one off, because the more he thinks about it the less chance he has of causing Federer problems. While Cilic has had an extra day’s rest, Federer was fortunate enough to have his semi-final cut short with Chung’s early retirement and so he should be just as fresh as his opponent. I think Federer eases to victory here, with the real question being whether or not Cilic can be the first man to take a set off Federer. I don’t think he will, as Federer claims his sixth Australian Open title in emphatic fashion with a 3-0 victory.
First Set Correct Score – Roger Federer 6-4
Cilic will be looking to cause Federer problems early in this match if he’s to have a shot of winning this title, and so it should be a tight first set. Federer will be looking to steal that one break that will be enough to secure him the set, and I think the one break is what he will get. Federer will stay solid on serve and just edge the opening set 6-4.