Third time just as charming
Updated: 2013-01-28 05:47
By Agence France-Presse in Melbourne, Australia (China Daily)
Novak Djokovic of Serbia celebrates defeating Andy Murray of Britain in their singles final at the Australian Open on Sunday. Djokovic became the first man to win three successive Australian Open titles in the professional era. "It's definitely my favorite Grand Slam, my most successful Grand Slam," he said. Daniel Munoz / Reuters
Djokovic fights past Murray to become first to claim three titles
Novak Djokovic wore down Andy Murray in a gruelling four-set final to clinch the professional era's first hat-trick of Australian Open titles in attritional style on Sunday.
The Serbian world No 1 lost the opening set in a tiebreaker but got progressively stronger to dominate the suffering Murray and win 6-7 (2), 7-6 (3), 6-3, 6-2 in 3:40.
It was Djokovic's fourth Australian crown and his sixth Grand Slam title overall, and confirmed him as the game's premier player.
Djokovic, 25, became the first man in the Open Era and only the third man ever to win three consecutive Australian Open titles, joining Australians Jack Crawford (1931-33) and five-time winner Roy Emerson (1963-67).
"What a joy, it's an incredible feeling winning this trophy once more and it's definitely my favorite Grand Slam, my most successful Grand Slam. I love this court," Djokovic said.
Murray, the British world No 3, began strongly but battled a left hamstring injury and blistered feet as Djokovic stepped up, winning the important points and most of the lung-busting long rallies.
"I congratulate Novak. His record here is absolutely incredible and there are very few people who have managed to do what he's done here. He's a very deserved champion," Murray said.
It was Djokovic's second win over Murray in a Grand Slam final after the 2011 Australian final, and ended the Scot's unbeaten 13-match run in the majors since his victory over the Serb in last September's US Open decider.
Djokovic reaffirmed his standing as the No 1 while Murray will remain in the third position behind Roger Federer.
(China Daily 01/28/2013 page24)