Novak Djokovic made history with his four-set win over Andy Murray inside Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne on Sunday, becoming the first man in the Open era to win three straight Australian Open titles (via Sky Sports News):
Novak Djokovic becomes first man to win three straight Australian Open titles after 6-7 7-6 6-3 6-2 victory over Andy Murray #SSN— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) January 27, 2013
The world No. 1 dropped a long first set but rallied to win the next three, taking out Murray in a little over 3.5 hours, 6-7 (2-7), 7-6 (7-3), 6-3, 6-2.
With the win, Djokovic now boasts six career Grand Slam titles and successfully avenged his 2012 U.S. Open final loss to Murray. While Murray must now go back to the drawing board, the Serbian star will start the 2013 tennis season on the highest possible note.
How It Happened
Murray started off strong, connecting on his powerful forehands and playing quality serves into the box. But after he won the first set in a tiebreaker, the 25-year-old Scotsman began to come unglued on his second serve.
He won 65 percent of his second-serve points during the opening set but then went on to win 38, 33 and 38 percent of his second-serve points in the final three sets, respectively. During that time, Djokovic won 60, 75 and 67 percent of his second-serve points, respectively. The disparity was simply too much for Murray to overcome.
Aside from Murray's serve fading down the stretch, Djokovic's sensational play at the net helped key his victory. He won 35 of 41 net points for the match, while Murray cashed in on just nine of 15.
The aggressor turned out to be the winner on Sunday. Djokovic clearly understood what was at stake and brought his A-game in response.
Murray's Melbourne Demons Still Exist
Andy Murray has dealt with more than his fair share of heartbreak Down Under over the years.
After Sunday's defeat to Novak Djokovic in the men's final, he's now lost three Australian Open finals in the past four years, including two losses to Djokovic. In 2012, Murray was ousted in the semifinals by Djokovic.
Sunday's loss is Murray's fifth Grand Slam final defeat since 2008.
Djokovic gave a shout-out to his rival after the match, however. Via the Australian Open on Twitter:
#Djokovic accepts trophy from @AndreAgassi: "First I have to congratulate Andy. Thank him for kind words. Bad luck tonight." #AusOpen #3pete1/27/2013, 12:42:39 PM
Djokovic Makes History
By winning the 2013 Australian Open men's final, Novak Djokovic becomes the first man in the Open era (beginning in 1968) to win the year's first Grand Slam three consecutive times. As of right now, Djokovic must be considered the best champion Melbourne Park has ever seen.
Winning the tournament three straight years, and fending off Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray along the way, takes incredible physical and mental strength that few—if any—have ever displayed at the Aussie Open.
Djokovic also joins Andre Agassi and Roger Federer as the only men to win the tournament four times since the Open era began.
At age 25, Djokovic is on his way to becoming the champion of champions in Australia. He plays his best tennis there year after year, and it's anyone's guess how many more Norman Brookes Challenge Cups he'll win before his tennis career comes to an end.
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