Mon, Jan 31, 2011 - Page 20 News List

Djokovic mauls Murray in Melbourne

SUPERB SERB:Britain’s 75-year wait for a male Grand Slam winner continues after world No. 3 Novak Djokovic shattered Scot Andy Murray’s Australian Open dreams

AFP, MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA

Novak Djokovic returns to Andy Murray during the Australian Open men’s singles final in Melbourne yesterday.

Photo: AFP

Novak Djokovic claimed his second Grand Slam title at the Australian Open yesterday with a dominant display that shattered Andy Murray’s dream of becoming Britain’s first male Grand Slam winner in 75 years.

The world No. 3 controlled the final on a warm Melbourne evening, winning 6-4, 6-2, 6-3 for his second Australian title after also triumphing in 2008.

It was the first Grand Slam final without Rafael Nadal or Roger Federer for three years, as Djokovic proved superior to the listless fifth seed.

Djokovic dedicated his victory to his family and the people of Serbia.

“I dedicate this title to my family back home and it has been a tough period for our people in Serbia, but we are trying every single day to present our country in the best possible way, so this is for my country,” Djokovic said.

Disappointing Murray suffered further heartbreak and is now yet to win a set in three Grand Slam finals.

“I want congratulate Andy for a great two weeks and he’s played finals here in the last two years,” Djokovic said at the trophy presentation. “We’ve known each other for such a long time and it was really difficult to play against him tonight. It’s a tough one, but hopefully you will have another chance to win a Grand Slam trophy, I am sure with your talent you will.”

Murray was bidding to become the first British man to win a Grand Slam since Fred Perry in 1936, but he was never in the hunt as his game fell away in the second set and Djokovic ramped up the pressure to take the final in straight sets in 2 hours, 39 minutes.

It was Djokovic’s second successive Grand Slam final after losing to Nadal in last year’s US Open decider.

Symbolically, the last time Djokovic finished runner-up at the 2007 US Open, he went on to win the title at the Australian Open the following year against France’s Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.

Djokovic and Murray are close friends from their junior playing days and it was their first meeting at a Grand Slam, with the Serb now leading 5-3 in their matches.

Despite the triumph, Djokovic will remain the world No. 3 behind Nadal and Federer when the new ATP rankings are published today.

It was another bitter experience for Murray in Grand Slams after going down in straight sets to Federer in last year’s Australian final and at the 2007 US Open.

Last year, Murray choked back tears as he apologized to British fans after he was unable to serve out the third set while leading Federer 5-3, and then squandered five set points in an agonizing tiebreak to bomb out in straight sets, 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 (13/11).

Murray’s opening service game yesterday went on for 14 minutes and four deuces, before Murray held as both players held their serve until the 10th game.

The Scot coughed up a double fault on his opening serve and a netted forehand gave Djokovic two set points to take the opening set in just under an hour, then Djokovic went on a seven-game run to have the second set in his pocket at 5-0.

Murray fought off a set point in the sixth game, before holding serve and breaking back to 5-2, before Djokovic went two sets up when he forced a Murray backhand into the net.

Murray began the final set well, breaking Djokovic in the opening game, but dropped his next two service games, before the Serb relinquished his lead with a tame sliced backhand into the net.

However, Murray looked out of energy and inspiration, and he continued to make errors to keep the heat off Djokovic.

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