Roger Federer will defend his Australian Open crown against Croatian opponent Marin Cilic on Sunday (28 January) after securing his place in the final in Melbourne at the expense of Hyeong Chung, who succumbed to a foot injury in the second set of his clash with the Swiss.
Federer's bid to reach the 30th grand slam final of his decorated career was rarely troubled by 21-year-old Chung, who could only muster one break point against his elder rival.
The 36-year-old, who will now face his opponent in last year's Wimbledon final Cilic at the Rod Laver Arena after the Croat dumped out new British hope Kyle Edmund on Thursday [25 January], took the first set 6-1 and was closing in on the second as Chung, the first South Korean to ever reach the last four of a grand slam, retired with the score 5-2 in Federer's favour.
Chung put the cat amongst the pigeons when he overcame childhood idol Novak Djokovic in the fourth round but he was not able to muster any real opposition against Federer as he played through the pain caused by his blistered foot.
Only Cilic stands between Federer and the 20th grand slam title of his career, but the eight-time Wimbledon champion was not enthused by the way in which his place in the final was secured and was keen to praise Chung, who he believes to have all the makings of a top 10 player.
"I thought the first set was normal. I couldn't tell what was going on with my opponent," Federer said, per BBC Sport. "In the second set I felt he was getting slower. He's had a problem with the blister. It hurts - a lot. At some point it's too much and you make things worse.
"Clearly I'm happy to be in the final but not like this. He's had such a wonderful tournament.
"Fighting was a problem today. I could tell something was wrong, but he has a great composure. I think he's going to achieve next level excellence - top 10 for sure.
"I can see why he beat Novak (Djokovic) and Sasha (Zverev). He's going to be a great, great player."