Novak Djokovic’s mastery of Melbourne Park continues, with the super Serb adding a record-extending ninth Australian Open crown to his rapidly growing grand slam collection.
The world No.1 crushed Daniil Medvedev 7-5 6-2 6-2 in Sunday night’s final to edge to within two majors of the men’s all-time record of 20 shared by tennis titans Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.
The 33-year-old is only the second man ever to claim nine titles at the same slam, joining his great rival Nadal, who owns an eye-watering 13 French Open trophies, after snapping Medvedev’s 20-match winning streak in merciless fashion.
Medvedev had been undefeated since last October and beat Djokovic in three of the pair’s previous four meetings.
But the Russian was no match for Djokovic on Rod Laver Arena, where the relentless Serb remains unconquered in nine finals and 42 outings as world No.1.
Djokovic will surpass Federer’s record 310 weeks as world No.1 next month and it seems inevitable he’ll also move past the superstar Swiss on the majors leaderboard as he, Federer and Nadal continue to jostle for all-time greatest status.
Incredibly, Federer had amassed 12 slams before Djokovic won his first at the 2008 Australian Open – and 16 before the Serb snared his second at Melbourne Park three years later.
Now Djokovic could conceivably eclipse Federer’s tally this year.
Contesting his 28th grand slam final, Djokovic opened Sunday’s match with an ace, held comfortably and then immediately broke Medvedev in the second game en route to charging to a 3-0 lead inside nine minutes.
The top seed looked in total control, only to make a brace of uncharacteristic errors to find himself double break-point down in the fifth game.
Two skyscraper defensive lobs from metres behind the baseline from Medvedev induced another error from Djokovic and suddenly the set was locked back up at 3-3.
But, as champion’s often do, Djokovic raised his game to break Medvedev just as the set seemed headed to a tiebreaker, the Russian finding the net with a meek forehand on set point.
Medvedev gained an early break in the second, but then surrendered four straight games and obliterated his racquet in frustration as Djokovic motored to 5-2 lead, then a commanding two-set lead.
The third set was one-way traffic as Djokovic completed the comprehensive victory in just one hour and 53 minutes.