Federer beats Gonzalez for 10th Grand Slam title

Melbourne, January 28:

Roger Federer captured his 10th Grand Slam singles title without dropping a set at the Australian Open, beating Fernando Gonzalez of Chile 7-6 (2), 6-4, 6-4 in Sunday’s championship match.

Federer improved his winning streak to a career-best 36 matches and advanced through a major without dropping a set for the first time. The Swiss star became the first man in the Open era to twice win three straight majors and has won six of the last seven Grand Slam titles — his only loss was in the French Open final to Rafael Nadal. By reaching the final, he tied Jack Crawford’s record of playing in seven consecutive finals at the majors, set in 1934.

Gonzalez, seeded 10th and into his first Grand Slam final, kept Federer under pressure with his big forehand, but could not quite match the all-court game of the player who has been ranked No 1 for 156 consecutive weeks. He broke Federer in the ninth game, the first breakpoint chance of the match, and had two set points in the next game but failed to convert.

Federer broke back to level at 5-5 and then had four set points in the next game before Gonzalez held in a game that went to deuce seven times and forced a tiebreaker. Federer dominated the tiebreaker, jumping out to a 5-0 lead after winning a challenge against an incorrect call to have the first point replayed.

Gonzalez had conceded only two points on serve in the second set until Federer broke for a 4-3. Federer fired an ace to close the second set and broke Gonzalez in the seventh game of the third. He earned triple championship point with a forehand winner and closed it with a backhand down the line.

He fell to his back, rolled over and then got up, hit a ball into the stands and took a bow. He held both arms high before throwing his wristband into crowd. Federer had 45 winners and only 19 unforced errors, and dropped only one service game in the 2-hour, 20-minute match.

The first set lasted 65 minutes, two minutes longer than Serena Williams needed to win the women’s final 6-1, 6-2 over Maria Sharapova on Saturday. Williams stayed in Melbourne on Sunday and was at Rod Laver Arena watching the men’s final.