Novak Djokovic beat Andy Murray in four sets to win a record-breaking fifth Australian Open title in Melbourne in Sunday.
Djokovic’s 7-6 (7-5) 6-7 (4-7) 6-3 6-0 win means that Murray has now lost his sixth Grand Slam final – four in this tournament – to the world No. 1.
Both players had lost only lost two sets en route to the final and the quality of tennis continued from the outset in the Rod Laver Arena.
Murray had the first chance to break in the third game after reaching 0-40 with a forehand winner down the line, but Djokovic dug deep to rescue the game and promptly broke in the next.
Djokovic held to move into a 4-1 lead but Murray didn’t let the set go without a fight and broke back, only to then lose his own serve immediately to fall 5-3 behind.
Before attempting to serve for the set, Djokovic signalled for medical attention at the change of ends after injuring his thumb earlier and Murray took advantage of his discomfort to make three consecutive breaks.
Djokovic, who had won the last four matches against Murray, started the tie-break with a double fault before Murray did the same at 4-2 allowing Djokovic to edge a set in front.
The pair battled in a brutal second set which was briefly interrupted by protesters on the court. Murray got off to a flier, racing to a 2-0 lead but Djokovic proved his mettle winning four games on the trot to go 4-2 up despite appearing to be suffering from a leg injury.
Murray fought back but squandered a as he attempted to break Djokovic at 4-5 to level the match, but then went on to win a tough service game to take it to 6-5.
In the second tie-break of the match Murray stamped his authority on the match, finally taking the set 7-6 (7-4).
Murray took advantage early in the third set with a break in the opening game but soon lost the advantage as he appeared distracted by Djokovic’s persistent limping, shouting, “Don’t worry about him, he does it all the time,” at his box.
Murray was even more frustrated when he fell 0-40 down on serve and although the Scot saved the first break point, a double fault on the second handed Djokovic a 5-3 lead. Djokovic then served out the set in 39minutes for a 2-1 set lead.
By the fourth Murray appeared to have lost the mental focus we’d witnessed in the earlier stages of the tournament.
Djokovic broke him to take a 5-3 lead and Murray hurled his racket into the ground in anger, earning himself boos from the crowd.
Djokovic eased to set and then continued his dominance in the fourth with Murray unable to match anything the Serbian star offered eventually falling to a 6-0 set.
Victory takes Djokovic’s tally of Grand Slams to eight, level with other greats Andre Agassi, Ken Rosewall, Ivan Lendl, Jimmy Connors and Fred Perry.