Melbourne, Feb 21 (IANS) Serbia’s Novak Djokovic on Sunday dismantled Russia’s Daniil Medvedev in straight sets to win a record-extending ninth Australian Open title at the Rod Laver Arena. The win moves world No 1 Djokovic, 33, within two of Swiss great Roger Federer and Spain’s Rafael Nadal’s record total of 20 major victories.
In a match that lasted just an hour and 53 minutes, Djokovic beat Medvedev 7-5, 6-2, 6-2. The Serbian quelled a brief rally from Medvedev in the third set, getting a break in the final game to win the title.
For 25-year-old Medvedev, this is the end of a 20-match winning streak that started in November 2020. This included a straight sets win over Djokovic himself at the ATP Finals in London. This was his second Grand Slam final, having lost to Nadal at the 2019 US Open final.
Djokovic was on the money from the start, breaking Medvedev in his opening service game. He then consolidated the break for a 3-0 lead before Medvedev fought back.
In the fifth game, he won a high-intensity 28 stroke rally that Djokovic tried to end with a failed drop shot that set him up with break point opportunities – the first which Medvedev captured after a Djokovic smash landed straight in the net.
In the twelfth game, seeking to avoid a tie-break, Djokovic ramped up his intensity, producing a stunning backhand passing winner down the line to set up three set points.
Though his Russian rival saved a pair, including one with a 214 kmh unreturnable serve, his fastest of the match to that point, a rogue forehand error cost him the set.
The pair exchanged breaks to start the second set as Djokovic continued to challenge Medvedev’s court-coverage abilities, drawing his younger opponent in with drop volleys and moving him side to side from the baseline.
The world No 1’s efforts were rewarded with a break in the fourth game which he consolidated for a 4-1 lead.
It was pretty much Djokovic’s match after that, although it was not entirely one way traffic with Medvedev pushing the Serb to deuce in the seventh game.
But frustrated with his inability to manufacture a break point from that juncture, the Russian smashed a racquet and was broken in the next game as Djokovic seized the second set.
Though Medvedev willed himself into the match, the Russian couldn’t do much more than raise his hands in helplessness time and time again as Djokovic’s relentless, wall-like dominance showed no signs of cracking.
Rising to the familiar occasion, Djokovic pounced as the Russian served to stay in the match at 2-5, landing a remarkable overhead volley winner on championship point before collapsing to the ground in celebration.