Defending champion Novak Djokovic has won an unprecedented eighth Australian Open men’s title by outclassing Austria’s Dominic Thiem 6-4 4-6 2-6 6-3 6-4 in an epic five set marathon final Sunday night.
The win at a packed Rod Laver Arena takes the superstar closer to Roger Federer’s record of 20 Grand Slam titles.
Djokovic is the first man in the Open Era to win Grand Slam singles titles across three decades, and it helped him return to the world No.1 ranking.
Speaking after the match, the 32-year-old Serb said queuing for bread in difficult times in his country gave him the mental strength needed to fight back in the final match from two sets down.
“This is definitely my favorite court, my favorite stadium in the world and I’m blessed to hold this trophy once again,” he added.
Commending his opponent, Djokovic said Thiem came very close to winning.
Thiem, the world No.5, had defeated Djokovic in four of their previous five encounters. Djokovic played glorious tennis with full confidence in the opening set.
But a couple of double faults and a fizzing Thiem forehand shot cost him the second set. Djokovic was lethargic, whilst Thiem persisted with the power play.
Thiem led Djokovic by two sets to one and missed a break point for a 2-1 lead in the fourth set.
Djokovic began the fight back from that point and a grueling final two sets saw him win in three hours 59 minutes.
Earlier, Sofia Kenin beat Garbine Muguruza to win the women’s singles championship and become the youngest American woman to win a Grand Slam since Venus Williams 20 years ago.
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