Defending champion Federer moved to within one win of a 20th Grand Slam singles title on Friday night when Hyeon Chung retired in the second set of their Australian Open semifinal.
Cilic was hampered by blisters when he lost to Federer in last year's Wimbledon final, but he has made a relatively pain-free run through the other half of the draw, including a quarterfinal win over an injured Nadal.
The 21-year-old Chung had an incredible run at Melbourne Park, becoming the first Korean to reach a semifinal at a tennis major and attracting plenty of attention for beating No.
After all, the 36-year-old Swiss star had the standing of the so-called Big Four to protect — there hasn't been a final at Melbourne Park since 2005 that hasn't featured Federer, Nadal, Djokovic or Andy Murray.
Earlier, Timea Babos of Hungary and Kristina Mladenovic of France became the first players from their respective countries to lift the Australian Open women's doubles crown.
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