Novak Djokovic clinched his sixth Australian Open title after beating Andy Murray 6-1, 7-5, 7-6 at the Rod Laver Arena on Sunday afternoon. After dominating the first set, the Serb was made to work hard in the sets that followed, with a tiebreaker deciding the final set. Djokovic won the toss and elected to serve first in what was a nervy opening.
Though the first game was littered with errors, a spring clean in the second game by the world number one propelled him into a comfortable lead, five-love after five games. At the other end, Murray managed to add some respectability to the scoreboard in the sixth game, however after 30 minutes of energy-sapping rallies, the Brit succumbed to a 6-1 defeat in the first set. The second set was much more evenly contested and Murray was growing in confidence with
each new game.
It was an exhibition of forehands, backhands, cuts, lobs, volleys and aces as both men held on well to their service games in what turned out to be a battle of mental strength, five-all after ten games played. The 11th game was the decider. After cruising into a 40-0 lead, Murray orchestrated his own downfall as unforced errors allowed Djokovic to play to deuce before breaking the Brit’s serve.
At 6-5, Djokovic took to the court aggressively and dropped jaws when his precise passing shot earned him a 40-30 win and a 7-5 second set victory. Until this point, most of the match had been played between the baseline and the back of the court, indicative of the players’ depth control and movement, and rallies continued to be a key feature. Despite Djokovic resuming his dominance early on in the third set, Murray did well to come back from 3-1 down to level matters before going on to lead the set, 5-4.
In fact, it was a case of robotic genius up against passionate brilliance as the end of the third set neared and Murray had turned the pressure on the Serb. After a fantastic comeback from the Scot, the match was finally decided by a tiebreaker. At 6-6, Murray had been given a lifeline when he opened the service for the tiebreaker and many were hoping that the match would stretch beyond this point, however a series of unforced errors coupled with inconsistency led to his downfall as the Serb aced his way to a 7-6 third set win that sealed the championship.
This is Djokovic’s 11th Grand Slam and sixth Australian Open title.
Photo credit: Julian Finney/Getty Images for Laureus)