Australian Open: Djokovic edges out Murray, meets Nadal in final

January 28th, 2012 - 1:04 am ICT by IANS  

Novak Djokovic Melbourne, Jan 27 (IANS) World No.1 Novak Djokovic of Serbia cruised into the men’s singles final of the Australian Open here Friday, defeating Britain’s Andy Murray to set up a third consecutive grand slam final against Rafael Nadal.

In a thrilling match lasting four hours and 50 minutes, the top seed and defending champion stormed back to win 6-3, 3-6, 6-7 (4-7), 6-1, 7-5 and set up a title match with the Spaniard, who rallied from one set down to outclass long-time rival Roger Federer in the other semifinal Thursday.

“I will do my best to recover. I have a day and a half. I will try to get as much sleep and recover and hope for the best. I think that is going to be crucial. Because Rafa is fit. He has been playing well. He had an extra day.”

In the first set, Murray double-faulted in the fourth game to give the Serb a 3-1 lead. Djokovic’s third ace gave him a 5-2 advantage and after Murray managed to hold serve, he used his forehand to dominate the final game.

“It was one of the best matches I have played, but emotionally and mentally it was hard,” Djokovic said.

“I felt we were breaking each other’s serves easier than serving it out.”

In the second set, Murray launched a strong back and broke back in a 12-minute game to make it 2-2. He broke Djokovic again to go up 4-2 but then double faulted in the next to make it 4-3.

In a game that featured a 41-shot rally and a 28-shot rally, Murray broke the World No.1 again and held serve to level the match.

The third set, which lasted 88 minutes long, witnessed a see-saw situation as both players couldn’t hold their serve consistently. The set then went to a tiebreak, which Murray won on his second set point when Djokovic’s forehand return went wide.

But there was a sudden momentum shift in the fourth set as Djokovic, who is aiming to become the fifth man to win three consecutive Grand Slam titles in the open era, changed gears to take it 6-1 in just 25 minutes.

He made a crucial break in the sixth game of the final set and although Murray broke back, he won the match by breaking the Scot in the 12th game with a forehand winner.

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