Djokovic is the champions of Melbourne, again..
What should have been the match of the tournament – of the young year, in fact – between the best players in the world, each of them fit, fresh and in form after barely hindered routes to the final of the Australian Open, disintegrated into an embarrassing one–man celebration for Novak Djokovic over Rafael Nadal.
His 6–3, 6–2, 6–3 win on Rod Laver Arena brought his career count against the Spaniard to 28–25, but it was one of the poorest of their contests, which stretch back to 2006. It earned Djokovic a record seventh Australian Open title – and his third major in a row. That is some roll. He owns three of the four and has the chance to do another Novak slam in Paris, Nadal’s only safe harbour left.
The world No 1 has 15 grand slam titles in total, moving ahead of Pete Sampras, two behind Nadal and five behind Roger Federer. It is becoming increasingly likely that the dynamic of the three–cornered hegemony of the modern era is about to change over the course of the remaining three majors this season.
Djokovic was as magnificent as he has been in any of his many triumphs. He won 40 of 50 first serves, 16 of 19 on second attempt, hit eight aces and a mere nine unforced errors. Returning on and inside the baseline, he did not allow Nadal’s revamped serve to get out of second gear, and there were only a handful of rallies worthy of the occasion.
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