After a scare in his first match in the Brisbane International event Down Under, world number two Roger Federer seems to be finding his best form as the tournament progresses and must be a strong candidate for the first Grand Slam of the year in Melbourne. He was expected to find strong resilience from his semi-final opponent in Brisbane, the Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov, but his younger rival lasted only 53 minutes against the Swiss legend of the game as he serenely cruised into yet another final with a 6-2 6-2 performance. Victory in the final would signal another landmark in a career full of them for the 33-year-old as it would be his 1,000th, a quite staggering feat of consistency and longevity.

Vying for the title in Sunday’s final will be Canadian Milos Raonic, who survived an epic examination against Japan’s celebrity performer Kei Nishikori in the other semi-final. With very little to split them, it was a game of fine margins that Raonic finally edged over three tie-breaks. After losing the first one 7-4 to the Asian star, he turned the game around to win the next two tie-breaks by the same score in each. It remains to be seen how much the supreme effort just to make the final has taken out of the young Canadian, as he goes into the match as the heavy underdog.

Federer continues to chase the records in the autumn of his career, as he pursues Novak Djokovic for the world number one spot that he so narrowly missed out on at the end of last year. Brisbane would be his 83th title in a glittering Tennis career should he take the victory over Raonic, but perhaps more significant in his legacy would be the 1000th win on the ATP tour that would make him only the third man to reach that mark. Jimmy Connors and Ivan Lendl are the other two stellar names on that list, although Federer can arguably already rightly claim to be the greatest tennis player the men’s game has ever seen, especially at a time when he has had to vie with Djokovic and Rafael Nadal for the major honours.

After Jo Wilfried-Tsonga’s withdrawal from the Australian Open earlier in the week, another seed (number nine) has opted to pull out of the Slam with the news that the current US Open champion, Croatia’s Marin Cilic has a shoulder injury that will prevent him competing. Doctors have advised against his participation in Melbourne after more than a month of trouble with the injury.

Elsewhere in the world of tennis, Stan Wawrinka’s pursuit of the Chennai Open is still on track after victory over Gilles Muller of Luxembourg in the quarter-finals. After the defeats of Djokovic and Nadal in Doha, the men’s final will now see David Ferrer play Tomas Berdych.

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