MELBOURNE, January 26, 2018
Roger Federer will face Marin Cilic in Sunday’s men’s singles final of the 2018 Australian Open. The No. 2 seed from Switzerland benefited from the retirement of #NextGenATP champion Hyeon Chung in Friday’s semi-final, leading 6-1, 5-2.
“I thought the first set was normal,” Federer told during his on-court interview. “I couldn’t tell what was going on with my opponent. In the second set I felt he was getting slower. He’s had a problem with the blister. It hurts – a lot. At some point it’s too much and you make things worse. Clearly I’m happy to be in the final but not like this. He’s had such a wonderful tournament and he is going to be a great, great player.”
The 21-year-old Korean has retired with a blister complaint at his left foot.
“They tried injections to see if it numbed the pain. It didn’t work,” Chung explained. “Much worse than a regular blister. Because he has played so many matches in the row, I think that’s why it was a build-up. I think that’s how they started.
“[I was] really honored to play with Roger in [the] semis [of a] Grand Slam,” said Chung. “I’m just learning a lot. He played really good today.
“I think [I took] a lot of confidence. I played a lot of good players in the last two weeks. I can play more comfortable on the court with the great players like Roger. I think I can play better next time,” Chung added.
Federer, who has not lost to a player ranked as low as World No. 58 Chung at a Grand Slam since falling to No. 116 Sergiy Stakhovsky in the second round at 2013 Wimbledon, will compete in his 30th Grand Slam title match, going for sixth crown in Melbourne, and 20th overall at majors.
Cilic is looking to become the first player to win the Australian Open title on his debut in the final since Wawrinka lifted the trophy here on his first appearance in the final in 2014.
Federer leads 8-1 in their head-to-head records.