Djokovic wins second Australian Open
Serbian powerhouse Novak Djokovic secured his entry to one of the most exclusive gentlemen's clubs in world sport with a crushing Australian Open 2011 final triumph over Andy Murray tonight.
Serbian powerhouse Novak Djokovic secured his entry to one of the most exclusive gentlemen’s clubs in world sport with a crushing Australian Open 2011 final triumph over Andy Murray tonight.
No longer a one-slam wonder, Djokovic joined tennis royals Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal plus Australia’s own Lleyton Hewitt as the only four active players to have won multiple majors.
The 2008 Open champion added a second Melbourne Park crown to his collection with a comprehensive 6-4 6-2 6-3 victory in two hours and 39 minutes.
Djokovic’s latest success completed a memorable two months for the 23-year-old after he also piloted Serbia to an historic Davis Cup final triumph over France in December.
For Murray and Britain, though, the painful wait continues.
The Scot has now lost all three of his grand slam finals in straight sets, having fallen to Federer last year in Melbourne and to the Swiss master in the 2008 US Open decider.
No British man has tasted grand slam singles success since Fred Perry at Wimbledon in 1936.
And the scars from Murray’s latest failure may be lasting.
He had beaten his career-long rival Djokovic in their three previous encounters, but was blown off court after dropping a marathon first set.
The two combatants seemed to have settled in for a long night when they required 24 minutes to complete the opening three games of the match.
The second game alone – Murray’s first attempt at serve – ran for 14 minutes before the Scot finally held.
Games remained on serve until Murray crumbled at 4-5, a double-fault and then a netted backhand after a 39-shot rally gifting Djokovic set point.
Then Murray overcooked a forehand to hand Djokovic the set after 59 minutes.
Feeling the pressure, Murray completely unravelled in the second set, angrily ordering his entourage to “relax” before dropping the F-bomb and the next five games to fall behind 5-0.
Djokovic provided Murray with a glimmer of hope when he dropped serve for the first time at 5-1 – but the world No.3 broke back immediately to surge to a commanding two-sets-to-love lead.
Murray unleashed a stinging forehand pass to break Djokovic for a second time in the opening game of the third set, only to hand the break straight back with a wild overhead that landed several metres out.
The dispirited fifth seed continued to vent his frustrations at his courtside box – but to no avail.
Displaying incredible defensive skills, Djokovic put Murray on the ropes with a spectacular backhand pass to break the Scot for a sixth time and surge ahead 3-1 advantage in the third set.
Murray hung on grimly to get back to 3-3 but the writing was on the wall when he dumped a forehand into the net in the eight game of the set and Djokovic made no mistake serving out the match.
Djokovic banked $2.2 million for his 19th career title, while Murray took home the $1.1 million consolation prize.
The final was only the second grand slam decider since 2004 not involving either Federer or Nadal.
Djokovic had taken out Federer in three sets in the semi-finals, while Nadal – who was chasing the first-ever non-calendar-year grand slam sweep – hobbled to a straight-sets quarter-final loss to fellow Spaniard David Ferrer after tearing his left hamstring in the second game of the match.