Australian Open 2013: Men’s final review
January 27, 2013 · Print This Article
by: Tom Cochrane
Novak Djokovic became the first male in the Open era to win three consecutive Australian Open championships on Day 14, the world number one defeating Andy Murray in 4 sets to lift the Norman Brookes Challenge Cup for the fourth time in his career.
Day 14 Recap
Very little separated the two players in the opening two sets, with the third seeded Murray looking more aggressive than in previous encounters against Djokovic and once again demonstrating his much-improved serve. Murray took the opening set in a tiebreak, 7 points to 2, and Djokovic seemed rattled by the Scot’s impressive start to the match.
Murray had his chance to stretch his lead early in the second set, with the top seeded Djokovic down 0-40 on his serve in the second game of the set. Murray was unable to secure the break, fluffing an easy backhand on one of the break point opportunities, and it was a moment that both players looked back on after the match as having been decisive. Like the first set, the second set featured no breaks, but this time it was Djokovic who come out on top in the tiebreak, levelling the match at a set apiece.
Murray called for the trainer at the end of the second set, the reigning US Open champion bothered by some sizeable blisters on his right foot. No doubt feeling the effects of his 5-set victory over Roger Federer on Friday night, Murray refused to throw in the towel, hanging tough in the third set as Djokovic started to step inside the court and began dictating more and more of the points. However, after 34 games in the match and eight in the third set, the dam wall finally broke, Djokovic breaking the Scot before holding to love to take a critical 2 sets to 1 lead.
Losing the third set seemed to deflate Murray mentally, and the world number one could sense that he wasn’t far away from the finishing line. With Murray’s movement slightly impaired from the blister problems, Djokovic took full advantage, establishing a commanding 5-1 lead in the fourth set before Murray held serve to make the Serb serve for the championship. Djokovic made no mistake, securing a 6-7(2) 7-6(3) 6-3 6-2 victory in 3 hours and 40 minutes.
For Djokovic, it was a history-making achievement and one that cements his position as the best player in the men’s game right now. The Serb will now be setting his sights firmly on Roland Garros as he seeks to complete a career Grand Slam. With Rafael Nadal still on the way back from injury, 2013 may well represent Djokovic’s best chance to date to claim his first French Open title.
For Murray, it’s undoubtedly another hard loss to take, his third failure in the final in 4 years at Melbourne Park, but the Scot was philosophical after the match, admitting he had failed to seize his chances in the second set yet acknowledging that the last 6 months have produced the best tennis of his life. If Murray can maintain this rich vein of form, I’m sure there will be plenty more majors around the corner for the world number 3.
That’s it for today. I hope you have enjoyed the coverage of this year’s Australian Open and I’ll be back with some more serves later in the season.