World Number One Novak Djokovic proved once more that he is the best player in men’s tennis with a straight sets win over World Number Two Andy Murray.
Djokovic claimed a sixth Australian Open Title by winning 6-1, 7-5, 7-6 (7-3) against a spirited Andy Murray on the Rod Laver Arena.
The title was also an 11th Grand Slam for the Serbian World Number One, tying him level with Bjorn Borg and the man for whom the stadium in which the final was played is named after – Australian Rod Laver.
British hopes were rocked almost immediately as Murray was outplayed in the opening set. However, with his Grand Slam Champion brother Jamie watching on, Andy never gave up and the final two sets could have been a very different story.
Murray started the opening game well with break points on the Djokovic serve. However, with the World Number Two unable to take advantage of such an opportunity, the rest of the set was all about his opponent.
Djokovic immediately made his Murray pay from then on, breaking not once, but twice in the opening four games to take a 4-0 lead in the set. Murray was by no means at his best, nevertheless there was little he could do to prevent the onslaught, with his Serbian opponent using every inch of the court to great effect.
The World Number One did eventually concede a game in an opening set of pure dominance. That game brought the score to 5-1, and more importantly in the context of the match, it provided Murray with some much needed momentum and belief.
The second set was far more of a contest, but ultimately provided the same result. Murray took his Serbian opponent all the way, but a vital break at 5-5 proved to be decisive.
The players remained on serve in the second set right up to the seventh game. That one went to Djokovic, his third break of the match, but the second seed soon struck back by taking his first break point since the opening game to level at 4-4.
Following Djokovic’s complete control of the first set, the second was dictated almost entirely by Murray, with considerably more aces going the way of the Brit. Fortunately for the Serb, his opponent also led the unforced errors count and that proved pivotal.
Novak was able to gain advantage back by stealing the Murray serve at 5-5. The World Number Two soon had the chance to break back but further unforced errors enabled Djokovic to hold serve and take the set.
The third set proved to be the final of the match and of the tournament. Nevertheless, the British Number One by no means let this one slip away from him in the manner that we had previously seen against the World Number One.
Replicating the opening set, the momentum was soon with the reigning Champion; Djokovic took the break in the opening game as he executed the shot of the match, by striking a backhand around the net that Murray could not get close to returning.
Tremendous character from Andy Murray ensured that the latter stages of this one would not replicate that of last year’s final. As the match looked as though it was running away from Murray, some superb play brought us back on serve at 3-3.
There really was nothing between the two players heading into the match’s final moments, and with understandably tentative play coming from both sides of the net, we were heading for a tiebreak in what proved to be the final set.
From tentative play earlier on, to evident nervousness in the tiebreak, and two double faults from Murray saw Djokovic race away to a 6-1 lead. On match point, Murray thought back bravely by holding both of his serves, but it came far too late as the World Number One smashed an ace straight down the tee to win his sixth Australian Open and 11th Grand Slam Title.
There were tears from Murray in the presentation ceremony, but not ones of disappointment: the Brit welled up towards the very end of his speech, sending a direct message to his wife to say he would be on the next flight home for the birth of his first child. For now, we wish Andy all the best in his personal life, and look forward to seeing him back in action soon.