Novak Djokovic claimed his sixth Australian Open title with a 6-1 7-5 7-6 (7/3) victory over Andy Murray on Rod Laver Arena.
Here, Press Association Sport assesses the key points which saw the Serbian claim his 11th grand slam crown while Murray was left to ponder his fifth final defeat in Melbourne.
First set: Djokovic 1 Murray 0* (* denotes server), break point
After a shaky start to his first service game of the match, a double fault from Murray at 15-40 handed Djokovic his first break of the first set and a 2-0 lead. An ominous sign of things to come.
First set: Djokovic 2* Murray 0, opening point
In the first point of the next game, Djokovic turned the screw even further with a drop shot which Murray failed even to get a racket to, leading one fan to shout: “Give him a chance Novak”. Chuckles rang out around Rod Laver Arena but for Murray it was no laughing matter – the foundations were well and truly laid for a procession as his opponent raced to the first set in little over half an hour.
Second set: Djokovic 2 Murray 2*, game point
Murray had doggedly fought his way back into the contest and, although break points were proving elusive, a brilliant rally on serve saw the Scot deliver his first decisive blow. The pair exchanged drop shots before Djokovic executed a lob which Murray retrieved and then he fired a splendid forehand to take a 3-2 lead in the second set.
Second set: Djokovic 2* Murray 3, deuce
With momentum now swinging Murray’s way, the Brit had an easy volley at deuce but could only find the net. Djokovic went on to secure the game and hold on to his serve to make it 3-3.
Second set: Djokovic 3 Murray 3*, break point
Perhaps that volley was still playing on Murray’s mind in the next game as Djokovic broke once more. The number one seed took full advantage of Murray’s second serve at 30-40, putting pressure on his opponent who was forced into a long backhand.
Second set: Djokovic 4* Murray 3, break point
Murray was looking vulnerable but, out of nowhere, he had his first break point since the first game of the match. Djokovic dropped a ball short and Murray duly pushed a backhand into the corner to draw back level at 4-4 – after an unsuccessful challenge from the defending champion.
Second set: Djokovic 5 Murray 5*, 40-15
Djokovic was passive for a couple of games and seemed happy to let Murray dictate the tempo but an authoritative forehand winner right past Murray’s nose at 40-15 showed his intent. The Serbian was back in charge, breaking again to go 6-5 up and he went on to hold his serve for the second set.
Third set: Djokovic 0 Murray 0*, break point
Djokovic produced the shot of the match to break serve in the first game of the third set and it visibly deflated Murray. A tired overhead smash into the net from the Scot brought up two break points and the world number one eventually made the most of it with a delicious backhand winner down the line.
Third set: Djokovic 3* Murray 2, deuce
A 24-shot rally at deuce on Djokovic’s serve, which ended in an overhead smash from Murray, gave the Scot break point which he duly took to level the third set at 3-3 and breathe a bit of life into the contest.
Third-set tie-break: Djokovic 0 Murray 0*
At the crucial points, when the pressure was on, Murray never seemed to have the answer and the opening point of the third-set tie-break epitomised his performance. Just as he handed the initiative to Djokovic with a double fault in his first service game of the match, he did so again to book-end a disappointing showing. Djokovic went on to win the tie-break, and his sixth Australian Open, with little trouble.