roger federer 2018 australian openRoger Federer has yet again created history, this time by becoming the first man ever to win 20 Grand Slam titles after defeating Croatian Marin Cilic in five sets (6-2, 6-7, 6-3, 3-6 and 6-1) in the Australian Open final on Sunday.

Federer started strong in the first set, but Cilic recovered by winning two of the next three sets to make it 2-2 and avoid a straight sets defeat like in last year’s Wimbledon Final. But in the fifth set Federer won his sixth Australian Open by turning up another gear and playing some of the best tennis of the day as Cilic once again seemed to crumble under pressure.

Cilic played well, but his serve wasn’t good enough on the day to overcome Federer and his finesse game. Even though Cilic is considered a bigger server Federer ended with eight more aces than Cilic.

Federer may not have as much power as Cilic when he serves, but his accuracy is lethal. That explains why the Croatian not only ended with fewer aces than Federer (16 to 24), but he also finished with less first serve points won (6-1 to 67).

Cilic did not get in enough of his first serves (62 percent) and that isn’t good enough for someone who has such a drastic difference between his first and second serve power.

Cilic won just 69 percent of his first-serve points, while Federer with a less powerful but much more accurate serve, won 80 percent of his first-serve points. If that isn’t bad enough against a player as skilled, and mentally tough as Federer, he only won 51 percent of his second-serve points.

A player who tends to break under pressure late in important matches can’t expect to beat Federer by failing to get enough first serves in and by failing to win enough first serve points. A lack of accuracy and variation on Cilic’s serve allowed Federer to read it well and exploit his weak return and backhand.

To make matters worse, Cilic had practically the same number of winners as Federer (45-41), but he had a lot more unforced errors (64 to 40). At the end of the day, the unforced error count was far too high and was happening far too often to beat a player as talented as Federer.

With this triumph, Federer becomes the oldest Grand Slam winner ever (36 years old) and if he stays healthy there’s absolutely no reason why he can’t win more majors this year. Although it’s unlikely he can beat Rafael Nadal, the King of Clay, at the French Open; he could very well win Wimbledon and maybe contend for U.S Open this year.

As for Cilic, he just needs to keep his head up and keep improving his game moving forward. He must work on his mental toughness if he wants to take the next step and start winning these Grand Slam finals he’s reaching.

He’s already proven that reaching and winning the 2014 U.S Open final wasn’t a fluke, but his mental game needs to evolve if he hopes to defeat Federer, or any other top player such as Nadal, in one of these battles.




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