Australian Open: Djokovic defeats a brave Murray to claim sixth Grand Slam
Novak Djokovic claimed his fourth Australian Open as he beat a plucky Andy Murray 6-7, 7-6, 6-3, 6-2 in a match lasting just over three hours and a half.
The first two sets were tightly contested and went with serves, with neither player able to break their opponent’s serve. Trading shots after shots and producing superb tennis, both players had to face the lottery of the tie breaks in the first two sets.
Murray was the more aggressive of the two and put the world number one under constant pressure in the first set, racing ahead in the tie break to claim it 7-2 and win the first set.
However, the Brit missed a great chance in the second game of the second set when, leading 1-0 and 0-40 on Djokovic’s serve, he could not find the breakthrough to take a potentially decisive lead in the match. Djokovic held serve and fought Murray to another tie break, this time coming out as winner 7-3 to even things out.
Whilst Murray started feeling the effects of his marathon semi-final against Federer, a fresher Djokovic upped his game considerably in the third set, dictating play from the back of court with unstoppable shots. Murray finally lost his serve at 4-3 in the third set, leading Djokovic to serve it out and take complete control of the match, claiming the third set 6-3.
Murray was becoming agitated and disillusioned, berating the umpire at the end of the third set for his failure to control the noise levels inside the Rod Laver Arena. This did not seem to trouble Djokovic who by this time was the undisputed leader on the court, displaying an incredible ability to cover the court and forcing Murray into more unforced errors.
Despite a break point at 1-0 in his favour, Murray quickly lost ground, losing his serve twice in consecutive service games, allowing Djokovic to take a 5-1 win. Whilst Murray was losing the physical and mental battle, Djokovic was seemingly growing in stature. After Murray had managed to hold at 5-1, he was unable to fight back on Djokovic’s serve, allowing the Serbian world number one to let out a cry of relief after a Murray backhand found the net on match point.
All eyes are now set on Roland Garros in Paris, the next Grand Slam in the calendar. And, with Nadal struggling to find fitness, Djokovic will surely fancy his chances of finally winning the only Grand Slam missing in his collection.
As for Murray, the fatigue accumulated and the high level of tennis displayed by Djokovic from the third set onwards proved to be too much to handle. But, with three successive Grand Slam finals to his name, he has firmly established himself as Djokovic’s main Grand Slam rival.
Baptiste Reynaud, Sports correspondent
F (1) N Djokovic defeats (2) A Murray 67(2) 76(3) 63 62