Djokovic pips Nadal to win longest Grand Slam final

January 29th, 2012 - 11:04 pm ICT by IANS  

Novak Djokovic Melbourne, Jan 29 (IANS) Novak Djokovic edged past Rafael Nadal in the longest Grand Slam final to defend his men’s singles Australian Open crown at Melbourne Park here Sunday.

The Serbian World No.1 overcame his second-ranked Spanish rival 5-7, 6-4, 6-2, 6-7, 7-5 in a sheer battle of endurance lasting 5 hours and 53 minutes for his fifth Grand Slam title. The previous longest Grand Slam final was recorded in the 1988 US Open where Mats Wilander defeated Ivan Lendl in 4 hours and 54 minutes.

It was Djokovic’s third title here besides his third consecutive in Grand Slams after winning the US Open and Wimbledon in 2011. He has now become the fifth player since the Open Era to win three straight major titles.

Both players are known for their tenacious approach to the game and it came to the fore in the final with an average point consisting of a five-shot rally.

Nadal looked on course for a win after securing the fourth set tie-break 7-5 and leading 4-2 in the decider with a break in hand. But the tired looking Djokovic got his energy back out of nowhere to break back and then hold serve to make it 4-4. The Serb broke Nadal again for 6-5 lead and converted his first match point for a remarkable victory.

“We made history tonight,” Djokovic said to Nadal at the post-match ceremony.

“Unfortunately there couldn’t be two winners tonight, but I wish you all the best for the season, and I wish and I hope that we will have many more matches like this, many more finals,” added the the 24-year-old, who has now beaten Nadal in their last seven meetings including the ones in the finals of the 2011 US. Open and Wimbledon.

Nadal took 80 mins to win the first set. Djokovic levelled the match after Nadal double faulted on a set point and dominated the third which he wrapped up in 45 minutes. The Spaniard took-the fourth set tie-break after saving three break points in the eighth game during which the rain stopped play for 10 minutes.

Djokovic came to the match after playing a five-set semifinal against Britain’s Andy Murray on Friday.

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