Australian Open 2015 Results: Day 14 Scores and Men's Final Review

Nate Loop@Nate_LoopFeatured ColumnistFebruary 1, 2015

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 01:  Novak Djokovic of Serbia holds the Norman Brookes Challenge Cup after winning his men's final match as Andy Murray of Great Britain looks on during day 14 of the 2015 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on February 1, 2015 in Melbourne, Australia.  (Photo by Michael Dodge/Getty Images)
Michael Dodge/Getty Images

In a match that looked all set to become an undeniable classic, only to develop into a swift destruction, No. 1 Novak Djokovic lived up to his top billing and defeated No. 6 Andy Murray in four sets, 7-6 (5), 6-7 (4), 6-3, 6-0, to win the men's championship at the 2015 Australian Open.

The win moves Djokovic to 5-0 in Australian Open finals—a record in the Open Era—and reinforces his status as one of the top returners in the game, as Murray won just 34 percent of his second-service points.

Murray, now 2-3 all-time against Djokovic in Grand Slam finals (0-3 at the Aussie Open), proved to be Djokovic's equal through the first two sets, playing excellent defensive tennis and winning a number of points at the net (18-24 in the first and second sets).

However, as fatigue set in and both players searched for another gear, Djokovic pulled away from Murray and won 12 of the last 13 games to win his eighth Grand Slam title. 

"I'm so grateful to be standing here as a champion for the fifth time, and to be in the elite group of playersRoy Emerson, Rod Laver and all the legends of our sport," Djokovic said, via The Associated Press (h/t ESPN.com).

Bernat Armangue/Associated Press

The first set was characterized by long rallies and high-level shotmaking from both players. It was back-and-forth play from the start, with Djokovic breaking Murray in the fourth game to go up 3-1, only to see Murray stay the course and get back on serve when he broke back in the seventh game to make it 4-3.

It was at this point that Djoker's health became a concern. A hard fall on an important point saw the world's preeminent player damage his thumb, which proved bothersome for some time.

Live Tennis provided a look at Djokovic's fall:

The Serbian star was seen checking his thumb, sucking wind and likely cursing his luck between points, and yet he still managed to win the game and power ahead 5-3.

Murray, desperate to not fall behind an opponent he's yet to beat when losing the first set, battled back in tremendous fashion, attacking an out-of-sorts Djokovic to break for 4-5 and then holding his serve to stay in the set at 5-5.

The second serve (7 of 17 points won) was a big problem for Murray in the first set and allowed Djokovic to pick up key points and keep pressure on Murray while his thumb recovered.

Murray was able to hold to force a first-set tiebreak, and briefly took a lead in that tiebreak, but Djokovic's steeliness from his deep baseline position proved to be too much for his Scottish opponent.

Djokovic may have won the first set, but there was no separating these two on points, per BBC Tennis: 

BBC Tennis @bbctennis

Points won in 1st set... http://t.co/BtFFltuH1I

The second set got off to a promising start for Murray, as he won the first two games in relatively easy fashion and showed he was in the right state of mind to fight off all the magnificent shots and aggravating saves coming from the other side of the net.

However, a minor meltdown from Murray saw Djoker come roaring back to take a 3-2 lead, his famously steely glare sending the same old signals of impending doom across the net, via the tournament's Twitter account: 

#AusOpen @AustralianOpen

#Murray starting to unravel slightly as #Djokovic reels off eight straight points from 1-2 down to jump 7-6 3-2 ahead http://t.co/9S4f3FycS9

The two members of tennis' Big Four would trade off taking chunks out of each's others game in grueling fashion. Their excellent play was briefly interrupted by protesters, however, per The Associated Press:

The Associated Press @AP

Court invader, other protesters kicked out during Australian Open men's tennis final: http://t.co/789VzeKVwB

Up 6-4 in the tiebreaker set, Murray would utilize a nice forehand smash to win the second set. The players had set a devastating pace in this contest, per TennGrand.com's Ricky Dimon:

Ricky Dimon @Dimonator

match is on pace to last 6 hours and 29 minutes. previous AO record, of course, is 5:53.

Murray again went up 2-0 in the third set, setting up a similar song and dance, but the match would completely get away from him at this point. Christopher Clarey of The New York Times noted Djokovic's gamesmanship at this stage:

Christopher Clarey @christophclarey

Sphinx of a match. Djokovic staggering about, not even running for balls on Murray's service game. So what does he do next? Holds at love.

The 27-year-old Glasgovian committed 12 unforced errors in the set, with Djokovic putting away points with quickness and ease. New York Times contributor Ben Rothenberg kept track of Murray's mental state:

Ben Rothenberg @BenRothenberg

"So ridiculous. So many times and he STILL does it." Andy Murray ranting on changeover, gesturing toward Djokovic now. #ausopen

Ben Rothenberg @BenRothenberg

"So UNHELPFUL!!! It's so unhelpful. So unhelpful." -Andy Murray yelling about who knows what at this point. #unhelpful #ausopen

Djokovic won the third set 6-3 in approximately 40 minutes. The fourth set was practically just a footnote in what was set up to be an epic saga of a match.

Murray's heavy legs betrayed him, and Djokovic walked away with the Australian Open final with a 6-0 fourth set. On championship point, Murray smacked the ball low into the net, a shot emblematic of his quick decaying in this contest.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 01:  Andy Murray of Great Britain looks on as Novak Djokovic of Serbia holds the Norman Brookes Challenge Cup after he won their men's final match during day 14 of the 2015 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on February 1, 2
Scott Barbour/Getty Images

It's a disappointing end to the tournament for Murray, but he has plenty to be proud of after a fortnight of tennis. 2014 was a tough year for him, but a new coach in Amelie Mauresmo has breathed new life into his game. He may not yet be able to hang with Djokovic physically, but he looks primed to make deep runs in the larger tournaments this year. 

Djokovic dug deep Down Under once again, and undoubtedly deserves his place at the top of the tennis rankings. At 27 years old, he's in a good place to dominate the next few years of tennis and rack up double-digit Grand Slam titles in no time.

With Roger Federer fading and Rafael Nadal's health often in question, many figured this to be the dawn a new age in tennis. However, it appears Djokovic's dominance will be a holdover in this next epoch.

Statistics courtesy of AusOpen.com unless otherwise noted.


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