MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) – Novak Djokovic returned to his dominant best to win his third consecutive Australian Open title, denying Andy Murray a second major championship with a 6-7 (2), 7-6 (3), 6-3, 6-2 victory Sunday night at Rod Laver Arena.
The top-ranked Djokovic is the first man in the Open era to win three straight Australian titles.
Born a week apart in May 1987 and friends since their junior playing days, the two played like they knew each other’s game well in a rematch of last year’s U.S. Open final won by Murray. There were no service breaks until the eighth game of the third set, when Djokovic finally broke through and then held at love to lead by two sets to one.
Djokovic also secured the second break of the match to take a 2-1 lead in the fourth set then went ahead by two service breaks and took a 4-1 lead when Murray double-faulted on break point.
Top-ranked Djokovic didn’t rip his t-shirt off this time, as he did after his epic 5-hour, 53-minute win over Rafael Nadal last year. He just did a little dance, looked up to the sky and then applauded the crowd after the 3-hour, 40-minute match.
It was Djokovic’s sixth major title and his fourth at Melbourne Park, where he is unbeaten in 21 matches.
Murray’s win over Djokovic in the U.S. Open final last year ended a 76-year drought for British men at the majors. The 25-year-old Scotsman has now lost three Australian Open finals.