Djokovic is 2011 Australian Open champion (Second lead)

Sunday, January 30, 2011

MELBOURNE - Novak Djokovic claimed his second title at the Australian Open in dominating style Sunday when he hammered Andy Murray 6-4, 6-2, 6-3.

Djokovic reeled off seven unanswered games from 4-4 in the first set to 5-0 in the second and overcame a shaky start into the third set for victory in 2 hours 37 minutes.

The Serb dropped just one set in seven matches as he backed up the Melbourne trophy he won in 2008 when he beat Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, and now stands 25-5 in Melbourne and 10-0 this season.

Djokovic celebrated immediately after winning on his first match point by tossing shoes and towels into the crowd.

“This is truly a special event, it’s the first Grand Slam of the year. It’s a joy to play here.

“It was tough to play against Andy tonight, a difficult match, I’m sure he will have another chance with his talent to win a Grand Slam trophy.

Murray, seeded fifth, failed for the third time to become the first Briton to win a men’s singles title at the majors since Fred Perry at the 1936 US Open. Murray lost the 2008 US Open and 2010 Melbourne finals against Swiss Roger Federer, also in straight sets.

Djokovic and Murray, who were born within a week of each other in May, 1987, were playing for the first time in a major. Djokovic improved to 5-3 in the series after losing their previous three meetings.

“It was obviously tough, disappointing,” said Murray. “I thought Novak played unbelievably well. And, yeah, it’s tough, but got to deal with it.

“You always have to try and find a way to get back in. You always have to try and believe. I mean he defended unbelievably well tonight. It was quite difficult to find parts of the court where I was getting free points from.

“I think I broke his serve maybe twice in the third set and still lost it 6-3. I was trying to find a way; I just wasn’t able to put enough good points together.”

Djokovic’s victory completed a Davis Cup-Melbourne title double after he led Serbia to a first Davis title last month. The number three, who will remain on his current ranking behind Rafael Nadal and Federer, became the first man to complete that trophy feat since Jim Courier in the 1990s.

Djokovic had 26 winners and nine breaks from 17 chances. Murray was decimated by 47 unforced errors.

Djokovic began the evening with a decisive love game and then forced Murray to work hard in a second game spanning five deuces, which the Scot finally held for 1-1. The pair then settled in for a slugfest from the baseline.

With the first three games requiring 24 minutes, Djokovic finally broke the leisurely rhythm as he earned two set points on the Murray serve in the 10th game at the end of a brutal 39-stroke rally.

One chance was all it took as the Scot sent a return just over the baseline, confirmed by a Hawk-eye electronic replay which ended the 59-minute opener.

There was no stopping a charged-up Serb third seed in the second set as Djokovic seized control to run out a 5-0 lead, with Murray’s body language and demeanour indicating massive, growing frustration.

Djokovic knocked off a volley winner to earn a set point, but drove a forehand long in the sixth game. Murray avoided a love set by a hair as he fired an ace to get out of jail and onto the scoreboard, 1-5.

But the surprises didn’t end there, with Djokovic suddenly losing his way as he served for a two-set-to-love lead, dropping serve to love on forehand errors as Murray clawed back to 2-5. Djokvic stopped the rot on his second set point, sending Murray deep and forcing a return error.

The third set featured breaks in four of the first five games.

Murray broke in the opening game, Djokovic reversed matters for a 3-1 advantage but a fighting Murray tied again at 3-3.

However, he never got on the scoreboard again as Djokovic broke again for 5-3 and served out the victory a game later as Murray suffered a pair of forehand errors to end it.

Murray, who shed tears a year ago when he lost to Federer, was totally composed in his latest defeat.

“I want to try and win one, of course, but if it doesn’t happen, it doesn’t happen. I’m just working as hard as I can, I train very hard. I take tennis very seriously.

“But I love my life away from tennis as well. That’s why maybe this year, compared with last, I’m very, very happy off the court. I’m enjoying myself. There’s other things to look forward to.”

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