Djokovic crushes Murray in Australian Open final

Novak Djokovic has claimed yet more tennis history with another crushing Australian Open final victory over Andy Murray. Photo / AP
Novak Djokovic has claimed yet more tennis history with another crushing Australian Open final victory over Andy Murray. Photo / AP

Novak Djokovic has claimed yet more tennis history with another crushing Australian Open final victory over Andy Murray.

The ruthless top seed once again imposed his mental and physical hold over Murray to emulate 1960s amateur champion Roy Emerson as a six-time winner of the season-opening grand slam with a 6-1 7-5 7-6 (7-3) triumph at Rod Laver Arena on Sunday night.

The Serbian dominator also joined legends Laver and Bjorn Borg with 11 career majors and now trails only Roger Federer (17), Rafael Nadal (14), Pete Sampras (14) and Emerson (12) in his relentless pursuit of grand slam immortality.

Djokovic's victory consigned Murray to a more unfortunate place in the tennis record books as the first man in the 48-year open era to lose five finals in Melbourne.

The vanquished Scot also fell to Djokovic in 2011, 2013 and last year and to Federer in the 2010 title match.

Murray's former coach Ivan Lendl, who guided the Brit to US Open, Wimbledon and Olympic glory in a golden run in 2012 and '13- is the only other man in professional tennis history to lose five finals at a grand slam event, though the Czech-American also raised the trophy in New York on three other occasions.

Murray cursed himself for "the worst match I've ever played" while being swept aside in two hours and 53 minutes.

In truth, the world No.2 succumbed to a world No.1 at the peak of his superhuman powers.

Djokovic's success was his 34th from his past 35 matches at the majors and the 28-year-old will head to Paris in May with a fourth chance in five years to complete the career grand slam set.

There was no telling early that the final would be such a one-sided affair as Murray pressed hard to conjure a break point in the opening game of the match.

But Djokovic calmly saved it with a blistering backhand crosscourt winner before racing through the first five games in 18 minutes for the loss of just eight points.

Murray finally got on the board at 5-1 to avoid a humiliating bagel.

In stark contrast to the 72 minutes he needed last year, Djokovic closed out the opening set in half an hour.

It didn't take long before Murray found himself under similar pressure in the second set.

He had to fight off five break points - including one with an ace after receiving a time violation and being taunted to "take a bit longer, Murray" by a heckler in the crowd - to hold for 2-1.

He couldn't hold on four games later, though, as Djokovic turned the screws to draw consecutive errors from Murray and break the Scot for a 4-3 lead.

Murray dug deep to break straight back, but Djokovic dealt the second seed a hammer blow three games later.

From 40-love up, Murray dropped serve for a fourth time after finishing on the wrong end of a gruelling 36-shot rally.

It was a bitter pill to swallow as the supreme Serb overcame consecutive double-faults and staved off a break-back point to clinch the set and a commanding two-sets-to-love lead.

Moving in for the kill, Djokovic snared yet another break for a 3-1 lead in the third set.

In one final stand, Murray retrieved the break to force a tiebreaker but Djokovic was not to be denied, securing the trophy - to go with his three Wimbledon crowns and two US Open titles.

- AAP

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