Published: Sunday January 27, 2013 MYT 8:44:00 PM
Djokovic wears down Murray for Aussie hat-trick
MELBOURNE: Novak Djokovic wore down Andy Murray in a gruelling four-set final to clinch a hat-trick of Australian Open titles on Rod Laver Arena on Sunday.
The Serbian world number one lost the opening set in a tiebreaker but got progressively stronger to dominate the suffering Murray and win 6-7 (2/7), 7-6 (7/3), 6-3, 6-2 in 3hr 40min.
It was Djokovic's fourth Australian crown and his sixth Grand Slam title overall to confirm himself as the game's premier player.
Djokovic, 25, became the first man in the Open Era and the third man ever to win three consecutive Australian Open titles, joining Australians Jack Crawford (1931-33) and five-time winner Roy Emerson (1963-67).
Murray, the British world number three, began well but he battled a left hamstring injury and blistered feet as Djokovic stepped up, winning the important points and most of the lung-busting long rallies.
It was Djokovic's second win over Murray in a Grand Slam final after the 2011 Australian final, and ended the Scot's unbeaten 13-match run in the majors since his victory over the Serb in last September's US Open decider.
Djokovic confirmed his standing as the number one ranked player while Murray will remain in the third position behind Roger Federer.
It continued Djokovic's dominance on the Melbourne hardcourt surface and capped an impressive fortnight where he recovered from a draining five-setter over five hours with Stanislas Wawrinka in the fourth round to score emphatic wins over Tomas Berdych and David Ferrer to reach the final. - AFP