Tennis

Novak Djokovic produced a performance for the ages against Rafa Nadal.

Novak Djokovic produces masterclass against Rafael Nadal to claim Australian Open title

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Novak Djokovic has won his seventh Australian Open after defeating Rafael Nadal in a simply magnificent performance at Rod Laver Arena on Sunday.

After coming into the final on a high after a blistering demolition of Lucas Pouille in the emi-final, Djokovic carried that form over in the first set.

The Serbian broke Nadal in the second game of the match while only losing one point on serve for the set, playing a brand of flawless tennis which Nadal had no answer for and the Spaniard lost his first set for the tournament 6-3.

That momentum continued early in the second set as Djokovic broke Nadal's serve for the second time in the fifth game, while continuing to be superb on his own.

Djokovic was pushed to deuce on his own serve in the sixth game, but had the answers when it was required.

The world number one was virtually a brick wall out there, getting every shot back from Nadal while hitting countless winners off his own racket.

Djokovic broke Nadal in the seventh game of the set for a 5-2 lead and then served it out in the next game to take a emphatic 2-0 lead.

The clinic on Rod Laver Arena was highlighted by the fact that Djokovic hit 11 winners and just one unforced error for the second set.

Try as Nadal might, he could not get a true foothold into the match as the Serbian star broke for the fourth time in the match to open up an almost insurmountable lead.

TENNIS-AUS-OPEN

With the win, Djokovic has now claimed his 15th Grand Slam to cut the margin between himself and the Spaniard to just two majors.

It was also Djokovic's third major title in a row after triumphs at Wimbledon and the US Open, which is remarkable to think at this exact point last year, he was seriously considering his future in the sport.

Djokovic cut a sad and lonely figure when he bowed out to Hyeon Chung in the fourth round of the 2018 Australian Open.

Normally such a vibrant figure on court, it was clear that a long standing elbow injury had become too much for him to bear any longer and surgery was required to fix the issue.

2019 Australian Open - Day 14

However, his recovery was much quicker than expected, and by mid-March he was back playing tournaments again.

While it was clear he was not at his fluent best, Djokovic knew he had been through one of the toughest times of his career and come through it the other side.

He got some good solid match play at the French Open, which was the perfect lead-in to his triumphs at The All-England Club and Flushing Meadows.

Despite losing the tour-end final in London to Alexander Zverev, Djokovic ended 2018 as the year-end number one player in the world.

TENNIS-AUS-OPEN-PODIUM

After playing a warm-up event in Doha, Djokovic was looking to continue his fine form to start the new calendar year.

The No 1 seed faced an early test against old foe Jo-Wilfred Tsonga in a rematch of the 2008 final at the same venue. While the Frenchman asked some questions, it was a pretty routine straight sets victory.

Just like his opponent in the final, Djokovic had to overcome two of the most exciting young stars on the tour today in Denis Shapavalov and Daniil Medvedev.

Each of the youngsters took a set of the Serbian, but the veteran showed that they still have a bit of improving by responding emphatically after the setback.

There was good fortune with the second set retirement of Kei Nishikori in the quarter-final, but the lack of court time in that encounter did not effect him one bit when he faced the surprise semi-finalist in Pouille losing just the four games.

Now that the 31-year-old has well and truly got his mojo back, could we be on the verge of another dominant era for 'the Djoker' matching what he did in the earlier part of this decade.

Time will tell, but it is certainly not out of the question.

Topics:
Australian Open
Rafael Nadal
Novak Djokovic
Tennis

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