Novak Djokovic remained at the top for a sixth time at the Australian Open. The 28-year-old ranked number one in the world won the Men’s final at Rod Laver Arena defeating Andy Murray 6-1, 7-5, 7-6(3) Sunday night. Djokovic captured his 11th career major putting him in a tie with the likes of Laver and Bjorn Borg.
A rematch of last year’s Australian Open got underway where the Brit would try and pull off another upset to determine champion of the year’s first Grand Slam. He lost to the Serb in four sets during their final match in 2015 where he won the second set but lost the next two. Since that day, the superstars of their countries had met six times in which Murray won at the Canadian Masters in Montreal.
He hasn’t beaten Djokovic in a major since Wimbledon of 2013 and would likely see the same fate. With the recent news of Angelique Kerber winning her first major after defeated world number one Serena Williams, the British star felt that his chances were just as good.
He got into a four hour and three minute match against Canada’s Milos Raonic where the two played all five sets until the Brit found the energy to win. As he went against the Serb who is 5-0 in his career at Melbourne Park, Murray knew that a battle like his semifinal would have to come from within to win the season’s first major.
He nearly had the first game as Murray got on deuce with unforced errors plaguing Djokovic after he had the lead. He managed to hold serve through two breaks keeping the first game to his name. He went on to take the next winning on the break dominating on the returns. He continued his march through the set taking the next pair while holding a lead of two points or more in those games.
The Serb played for the set after just 20 minutes where a sweep against Murray was in motion. It was the 14th straight game he won against the Scot and despite all his attempts it came to an end. Murray’s defense and aggression while on serve helped him stay ahead before watching the Serb commit an error losing him the bagel.
Murray was back in the game during the seventh where the competitive spirit had him trying to break against Djokovic. He played through three breaks on deuce, but lost the game and the set after playing 30 minutes.
He started the second much better holding Djokovic on service getting on the board first. The Serb tied things up in the second but as the second seed returned to serve, he had a stronger show of force. Murray fought through six breaks of serve against Djokovic trying to gain an advantage for himself.
Unforced errors and a heckler in the stands made that difficult after ten minutes of play. He ended the longest game of the match landing an ace before getting the key victory to sit in the drivers seat for the first time. It didn’t last long as the Serb won with his quick routine getting him back into a tie through four games. It continued on through the set where the fight for a tie meant very much to Murray.
He led the way at times but couldn’t get out front and stay there. Djokovic pressed to even at five all where the set moved into extra games on court. The 11th went to deuce after a 35 shot rally that had Murray fighting for control again. In the end, Djokovic got the advantage on the break and led 6-5 to serve for a two set hold.
He got a little nervous in the 12th game but shrugged off his first double fault to win the game and sit one set away from the title. It took him 80 minutes to outduel Murray and in his last 155 matches at majors, Djokovic has only lost once when leading through two sets.
He opened the third with two wins looking to be in cruising mode on the way to a sixth title. Murray got him out of the regular form taking his hold of serve seriously sitting a game down. He would fall back to a pair after the fourth where the Serb continued his hold of serve. Murray was still trying to pull off a miracle winning games against his opponent where he wouldn’t allow the set to get entirely away from him.
He pushed hard against Djokovic on the returns where a big statement on deuce helped him stay on an even keel with the Serb making the number one ranked star earn the match win. He held serve in the seventh getting back the lead that was most important to hold if he wanted to see a fourth set. It proved to be more than winning if the Scottish tennis star wanted to stay around as he watched the Serb strike back and level at four games each. Murray held serve in the ninth to be first to try and win for the set but would have to do so returning against Djokovic.
The Serb put things into high gear forcing Murray onto the ropes winning the chance to still play for the match with a two game points win. Things kept on between the two as 12 games elapsed but neither one was ready to give in. It set up an important tiebreaker for Murray to win as he currently had a better record against Djokovic during those.
This wasn’t one of those moments as he fell 6-1 in the break before he started to climb back. He made the Serb earn the victory playing through three championship points before an ace on the line gave him the victory in straight sets ending a 2 hour and 53 minute championship match.
Djokovic had a 74 percent run on the first serve landing just seven aces against Murray. While both had numerous unforced errors, the match was concluded with the sheer fact of Djokovic’s dominance and Murray’s push to give it his all against the Serb.
More will come from these two as the young tennis season gets into full gear with 10 months of tennis and three majors still to be decided where history will always be written.