Djokovic wins third straight Aussie Open

18:57, Jan 29 2013
Australian Open 2013
Janko Tipsarevic celebrates his straight sets win over Lleyton Hewitt in the first round.
Australian Open 2013
Ana Ivanovic celebrates a point during her match against Melinda Czink.
Australian Open 2013
A packed house shows up to watch local Lleyton Hewitt's first round match at Rod Laver Arena.
Australian Open 2013
Lleyton Hewitt's returns a point during his loss to Janko Tipsarevic.
Australian Open 2013
David Ferrer lies on court after throwing himself at a point during his first round win over Olivier Rochus.
Australian Open 2013
Fan show their home town support on day one.
Australian Open 2013
Maria Sharapova serves during her first round win.
AustralianOpen
Novak Djokovic on his way to a first round straight sets victory.
Australian Open
Caroline Wozniacki in action during her first round match against Sabine Lisicki.
Australian Open
Andy Murray returns a shot against Robin Haase on day two of the Australian Open.
Serena Williams
Chair umpire Kerrilyn Cramer comes to the aid of Serena Williams after she fell heavily during her match against Romanian Edina Gallovits-Hall.
Roger Federer
Roger Federer during his first round match against Benoit Paire of France.
Australian Open
Bernard Tomic keeps his eye on the ball.
Australian Open
Melbourne Park is lit up for the night session on day two.
Australian Open
Jarmila Gajdosova of Australia does the splits in her first round match against Yanina Wickmayer.
Australian Open
Gael Monfils celebrates a point during his first round match.
Australian Open
Fans scramble for signatures from Argentinian Juan Martin del Potro.
Australian Open
No 1 seed Victoria Azarenka in action on day two.
Australian Open
Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland hits a return to Irina-Camelia Begu of Romania.
Australian Open
Daniel Gimeno-Traver of Spain hits a return to compatriot Nicolas Almagro during their men's singles match at the Australian Open.
Nishikori
Kei Nishikori of Japan plays a backhand in his second round match against Carlos Berlocq of Argentina.
Australian Open
Jerzy Janowicz exploded in rage after losing a 79-minute set to India’s Somdev Devvarman.
Australian Open
Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic plays a backhand in his second round match against Guillaume Rufin of France.
Sam Stosur
Sam Stosur exits Rod Laver Arena after her second round defeat to China's Zheng Jie
Maria Sharapova
Maria Sharapova waits for a serve from Japan's Misaki Doi during her second round roll-over.
Novak Djokovic
Novak Djokovic lost just six games as he cruised to a straight sets victory over American Ryan Harrison.
Australian Open
Heather Watson of Great Britain celebrates with fans after her second round singles win.
Australian Open
Bob and Mike Bryan perform their trademark chest bump after winning their opening doubles match.
Australian Open
Victoria Azarenka of Belarus plays a backhand in her second round match against Eleni Daniilidou of Greece.
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga plays a backhand in his second round match against Go Soeda of Japan.
Serena Williams
Serena Williams of the United States of America plays a backhand in her second round match against Garbine Muguruza of Spain.
Andy Murray
Andy Murray plays a forehand in his second round match against Joao Sousa of Portugal during day four of the 2013 Australian Open
Bernard Tomic
Bernard Tomic recovered from losing a first set tie-breaker to defeat German qualifier Daniel Brands in four sets.
Roger Federer
Roger Federer picked up early breaks in each set to defeat Nikolay Davydenko in straight sets in Melbourne.
Roger Federer
The pink and black shoes of Roger Federer.
Australian Open
Stefan 'Redfoo' Gordy of the American electro duo LMFAO attends the MLC Hotshots session at the Australian Open.
Australian Open
Angelique Kerber of Germany hits a return to Madison Keys of the US.
Australian Open
Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland plays a forehand in her third round match against Heather Watson of Great Britain.
Australian Open
Maria Sharapova celebrates her 6-1, 6-3 victory over Venus Williams.
Australian Open
Tomas Berdych returns a shot during his match against Jurgen Melzer.
Australian Open
Ana Ivanovic pumps her fist after beating fellow Serbian Jelena Jankovic.
Australian Open
Novak Djokovic is at full strength during his win over Radek Stepanek.
Australian Open
Jamie Hampton celebrates winning the second set during her women's singles match against Victoria Azarenka.
Australian Open
Victoria Azarenka hits a return to Jamie Hampton.
Michael Chardy
Frenchman, world number 36, Michael Chardy lines up the ball in his Australia Open third round victory over sixth-seed Juan Martin del Potro.
Andy Murray
Andy Murray exclaims his satisfaction at beating Ricardas Berankis of Lithuania in the third round of the Australian Open.
Australian Open
Gael Monfils is doubled over with exhaustion during his epic third round match against Gilles Simon.
Australian Open
Bernard Tomic and Roger Federer share a pat on the back after their third round match.
Australian Open
Serena and Venus Williams whisper tactics during their second round doubles match.
Australian Open
Caroline Wozniacki returns a shot during her third round win.
Australian Open
David Ferrer of Spain serves to Kei Nishikori of Japan during their men's singles match at the Australian Open.
Australian Open 2013
David Ferrer of of Spain plays a forehand in his fourth round match against Kei Nishikori.
Ekaterina Makarova of Russia hits a return to Angelique Kerber of Germany during their women's singles match at the Australian Open
Ekaterina Makarova of Russia hits a return to Angelique Kerber of Germany during their women's singles match at the Australian Open.
Australian Open 2013
Angelique Kerber of Germany receives medical treatment during her women's singles match against Ekaterina Makarova.
Sharapova
Maria Sharapova of Russia hits a return to Kirsten Flipkens of Belgium.
Sharapova
Maria Sharapova (right) of Russia after her fourth round match against Kirsten Flipkens.
Agnieszka Radwanska
Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland celebrates defeating Ana Ivanovic of Serbia during their women's singles match at the Australian Open.
Novak Djokovic
Novak Djokovic celebrates after his five-hour, two-minute five-set victory over Stanislas Wawrinka in the fourth round at the Australian Open.
Ana Ivanovic
Ana Ivanovic is certain she is in good form despite exiting yet another major before the quarter-finals.
Maria Sharapova
Maria Sharapova has lost just five games in her four wins at this year's Australian Open.
Australian Open 2013
ictoria Azarenka of Belarus hits a return to Elena Vesnina of Russia during their women's singles match at the Australian Open.
Australian Open 2013
Victoria Azarenka of Belarus (right) kisses Elena Vesnina of Russia after defeating her in their women's singles match at the Australian Open.
Australian Open
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga celebrates making it into the quarter finals of the Australian Open.
Andy Murray
Andy Murray of Britain celebrates defeating Gilles Simon of France.
Serena Williams
Serena Williams of the US serves to Maria Kirilenko of Russia.
Australian Open
Roger Federer of Switzerland serves to Milos Raonic of Canada.
Australian Open
Roger Federer of Switzerland celebrates winning the second set during his men's singles match against Milos Raonic.
Andy Murray
Andy Murray signs autographs after his fourth round victory over Frenchman Gilles Simon.
Australian Open
Li Na celebrates her win over fourth-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska.
Australian Open
Nicolas Almagro of Spain (L) congratulates compatriot David Ferrer after Ferrer won their men's singles quarter-final.
Australian Open
David Ferrer of Spain reacts during his men's singles quarter-final match against compatriot Nicolas Almagro.
Australian Open
Ekaterina Makarova of Russia plays a backhand in her Quarterfinal match against Maria Sharapova.
Maria Sharapova
Maria Sharapova of Russia hits a return to compatriot Ekaterina Makarova.
Australian Open
Maria Sharapova of Russia celebrates defeating Ekaterina Makarova.
Australian Open 2013
Novak Djokovic of Serbia celebrates defeating Tomas Berdych of Czech Republic.
Serena Williams
Serena Williams does the splits during her quarterfinals loss to compatriot Sloane Stephens.
Serena Williams
Sloane Stephens of the US (R) shakes hands with compatriot Serena Williams after defeating her in their women's singles quarter-final match.
Australian Open
Victoria Azarenka of Belarus celebrates winning her Quarterfinal match against Svetlana Kuznetsova.
Australian Open
Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia looks on after falling in her Quarterfinal match against Victoria Azarenka.
Andy Murray  celebrates his win over Jeremy Chardy.
Andy Murray celebrates his win over Jeremy Chardy.
Andy Murray
Andy Murray during his match against Jeremy Chardy.
Jo-Wilfred Tsonga
Jo-Wilfred Tsonga of France reacts in his Quarterfinal match against Roger Federer.
Australian Open
Roger Federer of Switzerland plays a backhand in his Quarterfinal match against Jo-Wilfred Tsonga.
Li Na
Li Na swept Maria Sharapova aside 6-2 6-2 in the first semifinal at the Australian Open.
Maria Sharapova
It was not Maria Sharapova's day, winning just four games in a straight sets loss to Li Na.
Victoria Azarenka
Victoria Azarenka of Belarus plays a backhand in her Semifinal match against Sloane Stephens of the United States.
Sloane Stephens
Sloane Stephens of the United States of America plays a backhand in her Semifinal match against Victoria Azarenka of Belarus.
Novak Djokovic
Novak Djokovic of Serbia hits a return to David Ferrer of Spain.
David Ferrer
David Ferrer of Spain reacts during his men's singles semi-final match against Novak Djokovic of Serbia.
Andy Murray
Andy Murray missed a chance to serve out the match in the fourth set, but finished off Roger Federer in the fifth.
Roger Federer
A dejected Roger Federer during his post-match press conference.
Victoria Azarenka
Victoria Azarenka bursts into tears after defeating Li Na for back-to-back Australian Open titles.
Victoria Azarenka
Belarusian Victoria Azarenka kisses the Daphne Akhurst Memorial Cup in the locker room as women's singles champion.
Li Na
China's Li Na grimaces after injuring her left ankle during the Australian Open women's final.
Novak Djokovic
Novak Djokovic celebrates winning a point during his Australian Open final victory over Andy Murray.

For Novak Djokovic, no shirt ripping this time, no record-setting marathon, but still a history-making result.

The world No.1 is the first man in the Open era - and third of all time - to win three consecutive Australian titles, his 6-7 (2-7), 7-6 (7-3), 6-3, 6-2 defeat of wounded third seed Andy Murray delivering his sixth grand slam title and fourth at Melbourne Park.

Murray had declared he wanted a painful match. He got it. Or a painful result, anyway. And a shockingly blistered foot that the Dr Djokovic, who had comically bustled out to treat Henri Leconte during Thursday night's legends match, left the experts to handle. This was serious, intense, grand slam final tennis, and the Australian Open is the Serbian's speciality.

"I didn't expect an easy match," Djokovic said. "You never get the grand slam trophy in an easy way. You have to earn it."

After three hours, 40 minutes, and after a celebratory bellow, a laugh and a dance, he was presented with the Norman Brookes Challenge Cup by fellow four-time champion Andre Agassi, the Djokovic name filling the last available vacancy on the famous trophy. But it is hard to imagine there will not be more to come, for he is in his prime at 25, and a relentless master of hardcourt tennis. The other reward this time: a cheque for A$2,430,000.

''It's (an) incredible feeling winning this trophy once more. It's definitely my favourite grand slam. My most successful grand slam. I love this court,'' said Djokovic.

"Every tournament, especially the major tournaments, is very special (but) winning it three in a row, it's incredible."

Murray took some solace from the fact that this match was a much tighter affair than his defeats by Federer in 2010 and Djokovic in 2011.

"There's going to be some obvious reasons for me feeling a little bit better," said Murray, who was hoping to become the first Briton to win the title since Fred Perry in 1934.

"The last few months have been the best tennis of my life. I made the Wimbledon final, won the Olympics, won the US Open. I was close here as well. It was close.

"I know no one's ever won a slam the immediate one after winning their first one. It's not the easiest thing to do and I got extremely close."

It was not a hugely memorable final, with neither a flashy strokeplayer as much as a supreme defensive player, two same-age junior contemporaries who grew into friendly senior rivals. But if Djokovic's grand slam breakthrough came four years earlier, and he retains the superior record, Murray is a different player to the one who lost his first four grand slam finals. The Olympics, then the historic US Open success, changed that. But no one has ever backed up a debut grand slam title with success in the next, and his loss to Djokovic was his third from three Australian Open attempts.

Yet he gained the early advantage, despite being outplayed for much of the first set, Djokovic taken to deuce just once on his serve, while earning all five of the combined break points. The favourite threw himself so desperately into one forehand in the eighth game that he took skin from both elbow and knee, a backhand volley finishing the point that also drew the night's first semblance of a standing ovation. Plus a rare smile from Djokovic himself.

Djokovic played a horrible tie-breaker, opening with a double-fault, finishing with another forehand error, and unable to find a first serve, while Murray did not miss one. The momentum swing continued into the early stages of the second set, as it had at the US Open, the Scot winning the first seven points - for a run of 14 from the past 16 - to earn his first break chances of the match.

But Djokovic rallied to remain on level terms, and it was a hold he desperately needed, for Murray's level had risen, including his serve, and the top seed was in danger of losing touch. His forehand and overall unforced error count were damning, at least by comparison with the more frugal Murray, who was helped by the judicious use of slice, and, as ever, by his outstanding retrieval skills.

Yet, in some ways, the second set mirrored the first, but in reverse, when Murray earned the only break chances, but an untimely double-fault - a bird's feather floating onto the court in between serves - was crucial in in what turned out to be a one-sided tie-breaker. In comparison with the elite-returning pair's previous two grand slam meetings, which produced 35 combined service breaks, not one had come after well over two hours on Rod Laver Arena.

"After that (the second set tiebreaker) I felt just mentally a little bit lighter and more confident on the court than I'd done in the first hour or so," said Djokovic.

Of the feather, Murray said: "At this level it can come down to just a few points here or there," said Murray. "Probably my biggest chance was at the beginning of the second set, I didn't quite get it.

Murray's call for a trainer at one-set-all revealed another, nastier, problem: a horribly blistered right foot that was sprayed and padded and bound before he could resume. Bad news at any time; worse news against a super-fit reflection of self with the unwavering capacity to make you play and play and play.

A break had to come eventually, and it arrived in the eighth game, after almost three hours. While committed and competitive to the end, Murray was clearly troubled by his raw foot, and Djokovic grew stronger the further the match went.

Which was not nearly as far as last year, but the champion of 2008, 2011 and 2012 has never lost the championship match at Melbourne Park, and has won four of the past eight major singles titles, and contested two more finals. The last time Djokovic left Rod Laver Arena on finals night, it had become finals morning, after last year's almost-six-hour epic against Rafael Nadal. An earlier, tidier finish this time. And the pain all Murray's.

- The Age, Reuters

Advertisement

Novak Djokovic
BACK-TO-BACK-TO-BACK: Novak Djokovic celebrates winning a point during his Australian Open final victory over Andy Murray.