Roger Federer hangs on to beat Marin Cilic in Australian Open final

Sandra Harwitt, Special for USA TODAY Sports
Roger Federer of Switzerland
Clive Brunskill | Getty Images

MELBOURNE — Defending champion Roger Federer stole another piece of tennis history at the Australian Open on Sunday night when he became the first man to win 20 Grand Slam titles.

The second-seeded Federer's 6-2, 6-7 (5), 6-3, 3-6, 6-1 win over sixth-seeded Marin Cilic allows Federer to join Margaret Court (24), Serena Williams (23) and Steffi Graf (22) as the only players to capture at least 20 singles trophies at the majors.

More from USA Today:
Caroline Wozniacki holds off Simona Halep for Australian Open title
Halep proud of her new mentality despite Aussie Open defeat
Short game saves Tiger Woods from disaster at Farmers Insurance Open

"I'm so happy it's unbelievable," said Federer, who dissolved into tears by the end of his acceptance speech. "Winning is just an absolute dream come true. The fairytale continues. After the great win I had here last year, it's incredible."

Unlike Saturday night for the women's match, when temperatures also seemed excessively hot, the Federer and Cilic encounter was played under the roof in deference to the steamy conditions.

Federer's now joined Novak Djokovic and Roy Emerson as the only men to win the Australian Open on six occasions. Federer's collection also includes multiple titles at all but the French Open: he's reigned victorious at Wimbledon eight times and the U.S. Open five times.

Roger Federer tweet