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Australian Open: Oldest Man to Play Final, Federer Takes Shot at Immortality, Title

After an unexpected walkover in the semifinals of the Australian Open when the Korean upstart Hyeung Chung retired due to a foot injury, Roger Federer looked the very picture of confidence and contentment, stopping short of saying that he is all set to win his 20th Major.

Binoo K John |

Updated:January 26, 2018, 9:00 PM IST
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Australian Open: Oldest Man to Play Final, Federer Takes Shot at Immortality, Title
Switzerland's Roger Federer celebrates after winning his semi-final match against South Korea's Chung Hyeon at the Australian open on January 26, 2018. (Photo: REUTERS)
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Melbourne: After an unexpected walkover in the semifinals of the Australian Open, when the Korean upstart Hyeung Chung retired due to a foot injury, Roger Federer looked the very picture of confidence and contentment, stopping short of saying that he is all set to win his 20th Major.

Talking to pressmen in the third floor media interview room, Federer looked fresh and was flush with excitement at having such an easy semi-final victory which has already assured him of two million Australian dollar. He has already been assured of immortality and, to add more, he will be the oldest person to play in the Australian open finals in the open era.

Federer said that he had no idea Chung was carrying an injury and there was no indication of it in the first set which the Swiss won won 6-1.

“I did not know he had any issue with his foot. For me it was to play Chung himself. I played the first set without knowing that there was an issue with his foot. I tried to mix things up a bit: backhands and things. Did not have to push myself,” said Federer.

It was clear from the first set that a total demolition was on the cards because Chung was not getting his shots in, most of his attempted winners were beyond the lines though he did not show any discomfort. Midway through the second set, Federer had already sent down 22 winners, scorching both flanks, while Chung had only 5. Anyone who had seen a tennis match could have seen the rainbow forming over Federer’s head.

By the second set it was clear that there was no match and Federer was toying with Chung who came into the tournament as a 58th seed and toppled a few biggies to reach the first major semi-final of his career. He at 21 is just beginning to take off. Chung had taken a medical time out in the second set but when the second set was at 5-2, chung said bye even though he was not limping or did not not show any outward sign of discomfort. But Federer agreed with the retirement decision saying that it is better to give up if the blisters are painful.

Federer said that he did not mind taking an easy match. "Whenever we can, we take them.”

The Swiss legend said that he had a great tournament coming in to the finals without losing a set.

For the finals against Cilic, Federer said that all that he need is a good start. “I am serving well. I need a good beginning to the match. The tournament has been good for me so far.”

By a good start what he means is a service break in the very first point as he did against Chung and then onwards it is easy to run all over his opponent, both psychologically and with scorching winners.

In keeping with his style, Federer hid his ferocity behind his calm demeanour and at one point would have wondered why he wasn’t even sweating considering there was no resistance from the other side of the net. When Chung tried to move up to the net for the first time, Federer put an end to his ambition with a scorching backhand that not only passed Chung like a bullet but also seared the lines.

Chung will become the 29th-ranked player in the world ranking, to be released next week, which is a great jump. Federer said he did not want to say too many great things about the young payer lest it put too much pressure on him. "Definitely a top 10 player. Very steady mentally. He will see a lot of success,” said Federer.

In the finals, Federer will face a rampaging Cilic who, with his experience, is a different kettle of fish. It is not easy to start with a break against Cilic who also like Federer hides his combustion power behind a cool visage.
| Edited by: Ashutosh Tripathi
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