At the start of 2017, not many expected Roger Federer to add to his tally of 17 Grand Slams, let alone winning two more major titles in the season and gearing up to defend an Australian Open crown at the start of 2018.
However, the 36-year-old tennis legend has rallied against odds and more importantly has been extremely consistent over the last 12 months.
Federer, seeded second, will now take on former US Open champion and sixth seed Marin Cilic in the final of Australian Open 2018 on Sunday, January 28 at the iconic Rod Laver Arena.
The Swiss great bids to become only the fourth player after Margaret Court, Serena Williams and Steffi Graf to enter the elite 20-major-titles club.
Federer starts as favourite
Federer, who believes he is playing "very good tennis" at the moment, starts the final as favourite after having cruised to the last Sunday of season's first Grand Slam in Melbourne without losing a set.
He decimated the likes of Richard Gasquet and Tomas Berdych before outclassing Hyeon Chung, who retired after losing the first set in Friday's semi-final.
Federer has also won eight of his last nine meetings with Cilic, including last year's Wimbledon final. The 29-year-old Croat failed in his bid to add to his US Open 2014 title as he suffered a meltdown due to foot blisters to go down 6-3, 6-1, 6-4 in London last July.
However, Federer is wary of the big-hitting Cilic's ability to step up, given the Croat clinched an easy semi-final win over Kyle Edmund (6-2, 7-6(4), 6-2) on Friday following his quarter-final victory against top seed Rafael Nadal, who retired in the final set of their five-set decider.
"Having two days off and not having had a brutal semi-final will help him a lot. We'll see a fresh and ready Marin this time around," Federer said, as quoted by Independent.
When does the men's singles final start and how to watch it live
Roger Federer will take on Marin Cilic at the Rod Laver Arena on Sunday from 2pm IST, 8:30am GMT.
Live streaming and TV listings
- India: TV: Sony Six; Live streaming: Sony Liv
- Australia: TV: Channel Seven; Live streaming: 7plus
- US: TV: ESPN; Live streaming: Watch ESPN
- UK: TV: Eurosport, BBC; Live streaming: Watch Eurosport
- Switzerland: TV: SSR, SRG
- Canada: TV: TSN
- Africa: TV: BeIN Sports
- Singapore and South East Asia: TV: Fox Sports
- New Zealand: TV: Sky Sport
- Japan: TV: NHK, WOWOW