The Swiss needed only an hour and 41 minutes to dismantle the 2014 US Open champion, pulling clear of Pete Sampras’ Wimbledon trophy haul and moving four clear of Rafael Nadal on the all-time majors list. His triumph also marked the first time the 35-year-old has celebrated Wimbledon glory without dropping a set all tournament.
Cilic was overwhelmed by emotions midway through the second set as Federer rammed home his superiority and few could deny that the Swiss was utterly emphatic in his eighth success on the lawns of SW19.
He is now a perfect 25-0 in major events in 2017 – with titles in Melbourne, Indian Wells, Miami and now Wimbledon to boot – and will head to the US Open next month as a heavy favorite.
Though Cilic eventually wilted infront of the 15,000 crammed into Centre Court on the second Sunday of the championships, he began the match striking the ball with authority, fashioning a break point on Federer’s second service game. That opportunity would go amiss and it would be the only glimmer of hope Cilic was to be afforded all afternoon, with Federer breaking in the sixth game of the opening frame.
His holds were quick and efficient and the pressure from the Swiss’ racket was telling when Cilic buckled under the scoreboard pressure when serving to stay in the set. He double-faulted on set point and after 36 minutes the first set swung the way of the serial champion.
And the significance of the occasion, coupled with a pre-existing left foot injury, were on full show at the changeover when Federer broke and consolidated to open set two.
Cilic wept on his chair before receiving attention from the site doctor and there was genuine concern that Wimbledon was about to witness its first retirement in a final since 1911.
An emotional occasion
However, the Croat rallied by holding in his next service game to restore pride but when Federer broke for the second time in the set the writing appeared to be on the wall.
Cilic received a medical time out before the third set as Federer slouched on his chair envisaging a now familiar triumph on Centre Court. The pair re-emerged to a raucous ovation and the Croat was beginning to settle into a welcomed rhythm.
It was hard to shake the feeling, however, that he was being kept at arms length by Federer and he was forced to save an early break point with a timely serve and volley.
The all-important break arrived in the seventh game when he netted a pair of routine forehands and he overexerted off the same wing on break point with the Swiss pinned behind the baseline.
Cilic held to force the Swiss to serve out the victory and he duly obliged, arrowing an ace down the T to begin celebrations.
Wimbledon’s greatest ever champion shows no signs of slowing down.