Novak Djokovic triumphed for the first time at Roland Garros after defeating Andy Murray 3-6, 6-1, 6-2, 6-4 in Paris.
— Team Scotland (@Team_Scotland) June 5, 2016
Andy Murray just killed it at an entirely new level during his speech. Love you Muzzah!
— Chris Oddo (@TheFanChild) June 5, 2016
Following an immediate blip in his first service game, Murray soon fought back to break his opponent and take the opening set comfortably against officially the best player in the world.
But “Nole” proved to be too good for the British number one, as his first serve percentage increased and he began to dictate the play from the very beginning of the second set, taking that 6-1 and the next two that followed with some degree of comfort to win in Paris for the very first time.
Djokovic found his touch immediately in the early stages of the tie, and the world number one broke his second seeded opponent in the opening game. However, the British number one broke back immediately, inviting Novak to the net with a drop shot before striking a beautiful backhand over his opponents head.
Murray was beginning to find the perfect balance between attack and defence as the first set advanced, and patient play helped the British number one to steal his second and the game’s third break and move into a 3-1 lead.
With Murray serving for the opening set and leading 30-0, French umpire Damien Dumusois decided not to replay the previous point that followed a late line call, provoking the crowd and the Djokovic to display their disapproval at the call in both a verbal and visible manner.
But Andy never lost his composure, taking two of the next three points and with it the opening set by 6-3. Murray had won all ten of his previous matches against Djokovic after success in the opening set, but the Serb increased his intensity to take the first two games of the second set and find the necessary breathing space that he had craved.
With the score at love-three and Novak up 15-40 on the Murray serve, the Brit found the kind of determination that he had shown in set one to save the game and keep himself in the set.
But Djokovic continued to control the second set, taking the game that followed on his own serve, as well as taking Murray’s in the next game. The number one seed made no mistake when he served for the set, continuing to use the entire court and in truth there was little, if anything that his opponent could do to keep the ball in play and the score was level with Djokovic taking the set 6-1.
Murray took the first game of the third set, but another two vital points came in the second game, at deuce on the Djokovic serve. Crucially, Novak took both points at the end of physical, lengthy rallies, and his opponent’s understandable fatigue started to became evident.
The world number two was next to serve and was next to be broken, after missing a simple volley at the net with the score at 30-40. Four break points came for Murray with Djokovic leading 4-1, but each one evaded the first-time finalist at Roland Garros and the set looked to be over as a contest.
Defiance was shown by the Brit in his final service game of the third set, but his opponent breezed through the final game of the set to take it 6-2 and move within just one set of becoming French Open champion for the first time in his illustrious career.
“It would be easier to take if Andy simply wasn’t good enough to beat Nole but to constantly have him match or outplay Nole only to not be able to maintain the intensity is just a killer. Going from watching such a fantastic first set to knowing the match was a good as over less than 10 minutes later was torture.” – RJA, British Tennis Forums
Set four continued where the third set had left off and that was with Djokovic playing controlled and aggressive tennis, in comparison to Murray struggling to dictate on his or his opponents serve.
Murray wrestled his way back into the match by winning his second and third service games of the set, but he could not break the world number one, who comfortably retained his own service game at each time of asking up until that moment.
Any momentum that Andy had built appeared to have faded and the new name on the La Coupe des Mousquetaires looked to become inevitable when Djokovic broke his opponent at 3-2. Nevertheless, the Brit did not give up and he broke Djokovic on two occasions with the Serb serving for the tournament, bringing the final set score back to 5-4.
But Novak took the win at the third time of asking to win the men’s French Open singles title for the first time.
A four set victory gave the Serb his career Grand Slam and completed the “Novak Slam” – so called because he is now the reigning champion at every Grand Slam that is available in men’s tennis.
The British number one clearly could not find his best tennis on the day and did not come close to the levels that he produced in each of the three rounds that preceded the final. However, there was little he could do against the world number one, who came close to his unbeatable best in each of the final three sets.