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Djokovic’s dominance continues, wins 11th Grand Slam title

#Djokovic’s dominance continues, wins 11th Grand Slam title : #MELBOURNE, #Australia Novak Djokovic left no room to question his dominance on Sunday night. The 28-year-old Serbian defeated No. 2 Andy Murray in straight sets, 6-1, 7-5, 7-6, en route to his third-straight Grand Slam title and 11th overall. 

Djokovic has now won 21-straight matches in Grand Slams, dating back to the start of Wimbledon last year. He only lost one Grand Slam match in 2015, when Stan Wawrinka beat him in the French Open final. The only thing missing from Djokovic’s trophy case is that elusive French Open crown.

Murray was playing in his fifth Australian Open title. The two-time Grand Slam champion and Olympic gold medalist told the media Friday that he knew he had a huge task ahead of him, but anything could happen in any given match. Djokovic was 21-9 in their career head-to-head and had won 10 of his last 11 matches against the Scot, but Murray had twice beaten him in a major final.

Those past matches really didn’t matter, Murray said. But Sunday, he failed to figure out a way to put the ghosts of those past matches behind him. When he came to the podium afterwards, he managed to crack a joke about it. “I feel like I’ve been here before,” he said.

(Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

There was little he could have done. Djokovic was on his game from the first point. He won the first five games of the match, while Murray looked lethargic. Murray played a stronger second set, serving nine aces while hitting 21 winners, compared to two aces and eight winners from Djokovic. They stayed on serve to 3-3, then Djokovic broke. Murray broke right back. The crushing blow came at 5-5, when Murray let a 40-Love advantage slip away. Djokovic rattled off five straight points, breaking on an unforced error from Murray. Djokovic served out the set to take the two-set advantage.

He kept that momentum going into the third, breaking Murray in the first game. Murray broke back at 3-2. The set when to a tiebreak. There, Djokovic dominated. He sealed the win with an ace.

The win moves Djokovic into a tie with Roy Emerson for most titles at the Australian Open and into fifth place on the list of all-time Grand Slam titles. He shares fifth place with Bjorn Borg and Rod Laver. Only Roy Emerson, Pete Sampras, Roger Federer, and Rafael Nadal have more.

Asked in his press conference what had happened in the first set, Murray noted that’d he started slow in every match this week. There’s been a lot going on, he said. His wife is more than eight months pregnant. He said throughout that he would leave if she went into labor. His father-in-law, Nigel Sears, was here, as he is coaches women’s singles player Ana Ivanovic. Sears collapsed during Ivanovic’s fourth round match and had to be taken to a hospital. Murray was also on court at the time, and went to see Sears straight after winning. Sears turned out to be okay.

An emotional Murray mentioned the difficulty of the week as he thanked the crowd on Sunday night.

“And finally to my wife Kim, I’m sure she’s watching back home,” Murray said at the podium. “You’ve been a legend the last two weeks, thank you for all of your support. And I’ll be on the next flight home.”

He later said he’d been on hold on every flight for the last five days. The press conference was short, as it was already 11:15p.m. and he was due to catch the 1a.m. out of Melbourne.

As Murray rushed to the airport, Djokovic’s celebration continued around the grounds.