Djokovic defeats Murray to win sixth Australian Open title

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 Djokovic wins Australian Open
Novak Djokovic maintained his mastery of the Australian Open–and of the ATP World Tour–by capturing his sixth title Down Under with a 6-1, 7-5, 7-6(3) victory over Andy Murray on Sunday night. Djokovic, who has lifted the winner’s trophy in Melbourne on five of the last six occasions, prevailed after two hours and 53 minutes.

For a while it looked like Murray, a heavy underdog heading into the contest, would not even make it to the two-hour mark. The second-ranked Scot won just a single game in the opening frame of play and trailed by an early break in set two. Murray recovered to force a 5-5 deadlock, but he cracked in the 11th game after leading 40-0. Djokovic served it out one game later.

“The end of the second set, obviously the game I lost 40-love up, was a tough one,” Murray lamented. “Maybe I could have nicked that set. I was starting to have quite a lot of opportunities in the second. I had a few chances there. Then obviously in the third I felt like towards the end of the set, after I got the break back again, that I was creating a few chances.”

The five-time Aussie Open runner-up did well to get back on level terms in the third but had no chance whatsoever in the ensuing tiebreaker. A pair of double-faults contributed to a 6-1 deficit before he saved two championship points. That only delayed the inevitable, as Djokovic converted on his third opportunity with a clinching ace.

“He definitely made me work,” the world No. 1 said of his opponent. “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.”

Djokovic finished with seven aces and three double-faults while serving at 66 percent. He won 53 percent of his second-serve points, whereas Murray managed to win only 35 percent of the points when he had to toss in a second delivery. Djokovic recorded nine fewer winners than Murray, but he kept his unforced-error count to 41–compared to Murray’s 65.

By winning a sixth title at this event, the top-seeded Serb tied Roy Emerson for the most in history. He also matched Bjorn Borg and Rod Laver with 11 Grand Slam titles overall.

“Every Grand Slam title is very significant in its own way,” Djokovic commented. “Here, because of the fact that I managed to make history tonight and equal Roy Emerson’s six Australian Open titles. Very honored to be mentioned alongside legends of our sport by Bjorn Borg, Rod Laver, win as many Grand Slams as they did. You know, I can’t lie and say I didn’t think about it. Of course it was in back of my mind. Coming into the court I knew that I have a chance to make the history.”
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