While it certainly looked like the Australian Open final would go swiftly (and easily) Roger Federer's way, Marin Cilic pushed him all the way to a fifth set.
Federer won the first set in 24 minutes, as Cilic looked like his Wimbledon final jittery self. To his credit, instead of going away, the Croat dug in, winning the second in a tiebreaker. The two then traded sets, with Federer actually losing all of the momentum into the final leg of the match.
Grand Slam No. 20 was too precious to let slip away, as Federer stepped up to the challenge, winning 6-2, 6-7 (5), 6-3, 3-6, 6-1.
Whoever said "age is a process of becoming steadily less sure?" ...that fifth set was a clinic in confidence verging on certitude ...— Jon Wertheim (@jon_wertheim) January 28, 2018
????20. ❤️ pic.twitter.com/WqUiSo3fd5— Roger Federer (@rogerfederer) January 28, 2018
The 36-year-old was reduced to tears of emotion during his victory speech. While the words he said were what fans expected, his face said a lot more:
"I think what happened is I got to the finals very quickly. The semis was cut short. I had a lot of emotions left in me because I didn't have to go to extreme like last year," Federer said. "I hoped over time in the speech I would start to relax a little bit, but I couldn't. It was what it was. I wish it wasn't so sometimes. At the same time I'm happy I can show emotions and share it with the people."
It's the first time Federer has defended a Grand Slam crown since 2008.
Nobody makes me cry like Roger Federer...no one... there is no one like him...— Chris Evert (@ChrissieEvert) January 28, 2018