Australian Open: Look ahead to Sunday and Saturday recap
MELBOURNE — Roger Federer is aiming for his 20th Grand Slam singles title when he meets No. 6-seeded Marin Cilic in the Australian Open final.
Federer beat Cilic in the Wimbledon final last year and has an 8-1 career record against the 29-year-old Croatian player. It’s the one loss that bothers him, though.
He remembers his sole loss to Cilic all too well, a straight-sets defeat at the 2014 U.S. Open. “He crushed me in that semifinal,” Federer said. “He beat me badly.”
Cilic went on to win the U.S. title — his only Grand Slam trophy.
“I definitely think him winning the U.S. Open … gave (him) great belief,” Federer said. “You can see it in the way he behaves on the court. He’s there to win. Sometimes you see other players you feel like they’re happy to have made the quarters. I think he strives for more. I like those attitudes.”
Federer arrived at Melbourne Park last year following a six-month break from the tour, and left with his first Grand Slam title since 2012 after beating Rafael Nadal in five sets in the final.
He hasn’t dropped a set in the first six matches of his defense and is quietly confident.
Cilic has confidence, too, particularly after beating top-seeded Nadal in the quarterfinals.
“I’m playing much, much more aggressive,” Cilic said. “I’m feeling that I am, for most of the shots, hitting them really, really good. From the return, moving, forehand, backhand, serving, I think everything is in good, solid spot.”
Women’s final: No. 2 Caroline Wozniacki beat No. 1 Simona Halep 7-6 (2), 3-6, 6-4.
Men’s doubles final: No. 7 Oliver Marach and Mate Pavic beat No. 11 Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah 6-4, 6-4.
STAT OF THE DAY
1 — A first Grand Slam title for Caroline Wozniacki, who lost U.S. Open finals in 2009 and 2014.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“I’m never going to get the question again about being a world No. 1 without a Slam.” Wozniacki after winning her first Grand Slam title in her 43rd major, ensuring she’ll also return to the top ranking next week.