Djokovic equals Roy Emerson’s record for the most Australian Open titles
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – Novak Djokovic continued his dominance in men’s tennis, as he defeated Andy Murray in straight sets 6-1 7-5 7-6(3) to win his sixth Australian Open title.
It was imperative that Murray got off to a quick start to stay in contention, and in taking Djokovic to deuce in his opening service game, it looked as though we were in for another competitive final, but his own service game was immediate lacking.
It was an early lapse that would be punished in almost exactly the same way as Roger Federer had been in his semi-final as Djokovic ripped through the first set in 31 minutes.
His level of intensity ramped up by quite some measure in the second set as he sought to gain a foot hold. After a mammoth 12 minute hold, fending four break points, it looked as though he might have turned a corner, only for hopes to be dashed as Djokovic broke. Murray was not doing anything wrong in particular, but no doubt frustrating.
He channeled that frustration into an immediate break back, and yet again had to fend off break points in his next service game to stay ahead. Yet Djokovic’s persistence paid off, as Djokovic broke at the business end of the set and despite facing a break point served it our for a two set lead.
Murray lost the opening serve at the start of the third set, and at this point it felt like a virtual match point. But his persistency paid off – he started to mix up the passage of play, hitting deep, approaching the net, slowing down the pace, but all too often the long rallies would end in unforced errors
He managed to break Djokovic back, and stay with the run of play to force a tie-break, but his luck wouldn’t change quickly going down a mini-break, but saving two match points and making Djokovic serve it out.
It was the end of a bitter-sweet fortnight for the Brit. Earlier in the tournament the drma of his father-in-law Nigel Sears collapse while watching his charge, Ana Ivanovic cast a lot of doubts as to whether he would be able to continue. He admitted to having felt very drained by the events, but plugged away to reach the semi-final, where he had to battle very hard against Milos Raonic, in five sets to earn his place in the final, but while Djokovic had a monumentally bad match against Gilles Simon, hitting 100 unforced errors, his progress had been brutally efficient.
Murray stayed true to his word – he was booked on the earliest flight out from Melbourne, leaving around 1am, so his press conference was very short, but he reiterated his message to his wife Kim, and the trials of the past week.
“Regardless of today’s result, it’s been hard. Had I lost in the third or fourth round it still would have been difficult with everything that’s happened. She’s been amazing. Handled everything unbelievably well. I have to thank her for allowing me to play and sort of stay here with everything that was going on. But, yeah, it was tough.”
Djokovic quite simply lifted his level to another gear – he now leads in all his long standing rivalries over Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray.
After the match, he said: “He definitely made me work. There were a lot of long rallies, long exchanges. We were both breathing heavily towards the end of the second and the third set. But that’s what you expect.
“I knew coming into the match against Andy I’m going to have to be patient and construct the point. Obviously trying to be the one to take the first initiative and be more aggressive.”
The ATP tour continues next week with three tournaments, while the WTA skips a week for Fed Cup.
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