Djokovic Tops Murray for Three-Peat at Australian Open

by John on January 27, 2013


Novak Djokovic won his fourth Australian Open championship and third in a row Sunday night, defeating Andy Murray 6-7 (2), 7-6 (3), 6-3, 6-2 in a grueling final lasting three hours and 40 minutes. Still it was two hours and 13 minutes shorter than Nole’s marathon win over Rafael Nadal in last year’s championship match. Djokovic has now won six Grand Slams, including his first Aussie crown in 2008, and the Wimbledon and U.S. Open titles in 2011. “Winning it three (times) in a row, it’s incredible,” Djokovic said. “It’s very thrilling. I’m full of joy right now. It’s going to give me lots of confidence for the rest of the season, that’s for sure.” In a match which was expected to be about enduring pain and suffering according to Murray, the Scot got the worst of it. Djokovic entered the fresher of the two, having defeated David Ferrer in just 89 minutes in his semifinal Thursday night, while Murray needed four hours to oust Roger Federer in the second semi a night later. Murray, run ragged by Federer, picked up some pesky blisters on his right foot in the match. And they only got worse in the final, requiring treatment after the second set. While there were no breaks of serve in the first two sets, it was Djokovic who was struggling the most with his game at the outset. Nole committed 25 unforced errors to just 12 for Murray in the opening stanza. Djokovic did have five break point chances in the set, but failed to convert any of them. The Scot had the swagger and won the breaker 7-2. Djokovic saved three break points in the second game of the second set, and steadied to force another tiebreaker. “There were a few turning points in the match,” Djokovic said. “Maybe one of them was the second game in the second set when I was 0/40 against the breeze. He missed a few shots. I managed to have that crucial hold. After that I felt just mentally a little bit lighter and more confident on the court than I had done in the first hour or so.” Another occurred when Murray was serving at 2-2, second serve, in the second set tiebreaker. Rocking back about to toss the ball, he stopped, paused and then walked onto the court to snatch a small white feather that caught his eye. Back to the service line, he bounced the ball another eight times and served long. Double fault. He ended up losing the breaker 7-3. “It was strange,” Djokovic said, adding that it swung the momentum his way. “It obviously did. … He made a crucial double-fault.” Murray was not the same after the feather caper and the trainer visit between sets. Djokovic got the first break of the match in the eighth game of the third set, winning the first point of the game following a spirit-sapping 36-stroke rally. The Serb earned two more service breaks in the fourth set to seal the win. “Novak, his record here is incredible,” Murray said. “Very few people have been able to do what he’s done here and he’s a well-deserved champion.” Djokovic improved to 6-4 in Grand Slam finals and 11-7 against Murray.

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