Novak Djokovic wins ninth Australian Open by beating Daniil Medvedev

Djokovic has won three titles in a row at the Australian Open for the second time in his career, having also managed the feat in 2011/13

Novak Djokovic continued his dominance at the Australian Open by overpowering an irritated Daniil Medvedev to win a ninth men’s title.

Top seed Djokovic won 7-5 6-2 6-2 and took his 18th Grand Slam. This left him two times behind Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal in the men’s record books.

The 33-year-old Serb has never lost a final at Melbourne Park. The win against Medvedev is a third triumph in a row.

The 25-year-old Russian fourth Medvedev has lost both Grand Slam finals.

After collecting the trophy, Djokovic told the Rod Laver Arena: “I love you more and more every year. The love affair continues.”

Medvedev, who lost to Nadal in the 2019 US Open final, has been asked to push Djokovic close and win his first major.

The Russian had reached the final in Melbourne after a winning streak of 20 games, but was shaken under strong pressure from Djokovic.

Throwing clubs, poor body language and angry screaming from his team were an example of how the Russian imploded in the third set and stood out from Djokovic’s confident and steely appearance.

Djokovic won the title with a backhand volley shot after an hour and 53 minutes and fell into the blue seat on his back before gaining recognition from the reduced 7,500 spectators.

Djokovic roared loudly and pounded on his heart before hugging coach Goran Ivanisevic and the rest of his support team.

After thinking that an abdominal injury early in the tournament might affect his chances, Team Djokovic’s pride and relief was evident in their celebrations.

The brilliant Djokovic refuses to hand over to the younger generation

In form Medvedev had insisted, perhaps playfully, that “all the pressure” was on Djokovic because he wanted to chase Nadal and Federer in the fight for the Grand Slams title of most men.

Maybe it was a trick to divert attention from yourself. Either way, it didn’t work out as Djokovic has emphatically proven that he’s still the man to beat.

World number one Djokovic responded to Medvedev’s comments with a faded tone in his assessment that the younger generation “still has a lot to do”.

“I’m not going to stand here and hand it over to you,” he told Eurosport after beating Russian qualifier Aslan Karatsev in the semi-final.

He was true to his word. Djokovic produced a masterclass of intensity, focus, and execution that looked comfortable in what he has called a “home away from home”.

As in his last three finals in Melbourne, Djokovic started quickly with an immediate break from serving as he tried to shape his authority.

Medvedev remained calm – at least until later in the game – and continued his attempt to drag Djokovic into a grueling baseline exchange.

Djokovic tried to avoid long points by using one or two drop shots, but that helped the Russian make it 3-3.

An intriguing opening set could have swung either way, but it was the reigning champion who did it when he picked up Medvedev’s serve again in Game 12.

The story was threatening for the Russian: Djokovic had only lost five of 264 Grand Slam games when he won the first set.

Medvedev implodes while the wait for the Grand Slam continues

Medvedev went into the final after a winning streak of 20 games and had won his last 12 games against top 10 opponents.

However, lengthening those runs seemed unlikely when he began to implode in the second set.

After the pair swapped breaks in their first two games, Djokovic pounced again as a series of casual mistakes crept into Medvedev’s game.

Medvedev looked a little irritated, perhaps partly because of some disturbing fans in the previous game, but mostly because he couldn’t negate Djokovic and his racket bounced off the pitch before the Serb took a 4-1 lead.

Daniil Medvedev picks up a broken racket during the Australian Open finalMedvedev became increasingly demonstrative as Djokovic headed for victory

The bat survived, but not the second blow Medvedev gave him when he hit a forehand for 5-2.

Djokovic sealed the two-set advantage with a crunching forehand that Medvedev couldn’t handle.

Medvedev had never won after losing the first two sets but battled Nadal at the 2019 US Open to force a decision.

The negativity seemed ingrained, however, and the prospect of a similar fight seemed far-fetched.

In the seventh game of the third set there was a brief glimmer of hope between 30 and 30, but Djokovic held for 5: 2 – nudging his temple with his finger to emphasize his mental hardness – and sealed a one-sided victory which few expected.

“We know how tough Novak is and he played a sensational final,” former UK number one Annabel Croft told BBC Radio 5 Live.

“You have to be selected in all departments. Medvedev has said goodbye to the tactics he showed in the first sentence and has got into a crisis.”

Analysis – ‘Amazing performance by Djokovic’

BBC tennis correspondent Russell Fuller

This was another amazing performance by Novak Djokovic at the Australian Open at the end of one of the most stressful Grand Slam fortnight of his career.

The stomach injury he sustained during his third round win against Taylor Fritz improved faster than he had thought. But it still put him at risk for the next few laps and prevented training on his days off.

He overtook Milos Raonic and Alex Zverev in tense four sets and was able to save his best to the last.

Daniil Medvedev spent much of the second half talking to his coach and wife. He was distracted by Djokovic’s brilliance, but he showed surprising fragility for someone with previous experience in a Grand Slam final and so many recent victories over top 10 players.

The number one in the world is firmly back on track. Two slams behind Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal with an age advantage of six years for the Swiss and twelve months for the Spaniard.

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