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Djokovic edges out Nadal 5-7, 6-4, 6-2, 6-7, 7-5

01-30-2012 13:24 BJT Special Report:Australian Open Tennis Championships 2012 |

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One of the all-time great tennis matches was staged at the Australian Open on Sunday night - a Serb and a Spaniard who battled on court for almost six hours - and it seemed nothing could separate them.

Novak Djokovic was defending his title against former Australian Open champion Rafael Nadal. While Nadal led their head to head encounters 16-13, Djokovic, the world number one had been victorious in their last six meetings.

Novak Djokovic of Serbia poses with the trophy during the awarding ceremony for the men's
singles final with Rafael Nadal of Spain at 2012 Australian Open tennis tournament in
Melbourne, Australia, on Jan. 29, 2012. Djokovic won the champion by defeating Nadal 3-2.
(Xinhua/Guo Yong)

It was the Spaniard who came out with guns blazing, forcing the first break of the match in the fifth game. Although Djokovic broke back to level at 4-4, Nadal got the better of the Serbian’s serve in the 11th game to serve for the set, 7-5.

An hour and 20 minutes in duration, the opening set was only two minutes shorter than the whole of Saturday’s women’s singles final between Victoria Azarenka and Maria Sharapova.

Novak Djokovic of Serbia hits a return during the men's
singles final with Rafael Nadal of Spain at 2012 Australian
Open tennis tournament in Melbourne, Australia, on Jan.
29, 2012. Djokovic won the champion by defeating Nadal 3-2.
(Xinhua/Bai Xue)

With a break in hand, Djokovic squandered a chance to level the match while serving for the second, up 5-4, Nadal clinging on. Not to be beaten Djokovic found a little extra to take it 6-4. At a set all, Djokovic began to dominate, sending Nadal all over the court. Djokovic broke in the fourth and eighth games to take the third set 6-2.

But any thoughts of a straight-forward win from that point were soon vanquished as Nadal showed steely determination to stay in contention for an 11th Grand Slam title, which would put him level with greats Bjorn Borg and Rod Laver.

A 15-minute rain delay midway through the fourth set halted his charge, but in the resulting tiebreaker, Nadal fought back from 5-3 down to take it 7-5 and force a deciding set.

Both players were on the edge of exhaustion when Nadal was broken again, giving Djokovic the opportunity to serve for the title. The 24-year-old had to save a break point before wrapping up a 3 sets to 2 victory in almost six hours. Djokovic picked up his third Australian Open title and his fifth Grand Slam crown in all.

He also became only the fifth player in the Open Era to win three Grand Slam titles in succession, following in the foot-steps of Nadal, Rod Laver, Roger Federer and Pete Sampras.


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