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

Roger Federer of Switzerland
Clive Brunskill | Getty Images
Roger Federer of Switzerland

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.

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"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.