Fantastic Federer justifies favourite tag to retain Australian Open crown
Swiss star downs Marin Cilic in five
Roger Federer justified ante-post favouritism as he successfully defended his Australian Open title to win in Melbourne for the sixth-time in his illustrious career and claim his 20th grand slam title.
Federer, a 2-1 chance at the beginning of the tournament, had to produce his best tennis to stave off the fightback of Marin Cilic, who twice came from a set behind to level before eventually succumbing in five.
In a rematch of last season's Wimbledon final, the Swiss maestro raced into an early lead as nerves hindered Cilic but the Croat showed his resolve to win the second and fourth sets.
Federer was made to save two break points at the beginning of the fifth, and his opponent briefly traded at odds-on on Betfair's exchange, but the 36-year-old ran away from Cilic to win the final set 6-1.
The Swiss is as big as 22-1 to win the next grand slam - the French Open - but a ninth Wimbledon crown is a more realistic target for Federer and he's no bigger than 9-4 for victory at the All England Club.
Coral make Federer 40-1 to win the calendar grand slam in 2018 by adding the French Open, Wimbledon and US Open titles. The same firm go 16-1 that he wins 25 grand slam titles before he retires.
Novak Djokovic is a 5-1 shot for the grass title ahead of 11-2 Andy Murray while Federer's great rival Rafael Nadal can be backed at 8-1.
The vanquished Cilic, who was sent off at 33-1 in Melbourne, is 14-1 to go one better at Wimbledon this year.
Caroline Wozniacki took the women's crown on Saturday, her first grand slam title, after an epic three-set battle with Simona Halep.
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