Australian Open: Novak Djokovic beats Andy Murray to retain his crown
Last Updated: January 27, 2013 10:12pm
Novak Djokovic: avenged last year's US Open final defeat to Andy Murray
Novak Djokovic became the first man to win three successive Australian Open titles as he swept aside Andy Murray in four sets.
The Serbian world No 1 came from a set down to win 6-7 7-6 6-3 6-2 in Melbourne, in the process avenging his defeat to Murray in last year's US Open final.
It was a fifth Grand Slam final defeat for Murray - whose solitary success in major finals remains that win over Djokovic in New York - and his third in four years at the Australian Open. Djokovic also beat him in the 2011 showpiece.
Neither man was able to claim a break in the opening two sets and both were settled by one-sided tie-breaks, Murray winning the first 7-2 and Djokovik running away with the second 7-3.
The third set also looked to be heading for a breaker as neither man threatened the other's serve, but that changed in game eight as a crushing forehand from Djokovic gave him three chances at 0-40.
The first two were wasted by weak forehands from the Serb but he claimed the third as Murray broke down from the baseline and fired a backhand long.
Djokovic held firm to serve it out and claim the set 6-3.
Both men slumped to 0-30 in their opening service games of the fourth set but both battled back to hold on, although for Murray it was merely disaster delayed.
In the third game the Scot fired a weak backhand into the middle of the net to give Djokovic the break for 2-1, which the Serb immediately consolidated for 3-1.
Murray was reeling by now and his body language was resonant of his pre-Lendl days, emphasised as a double fault handed Djokovic the double break and a 4-1 lead.
The champion came back from 0-30 down to hold for 5-1 before Murray ended a five-game losing streak with a hold.
Murray had one last chance to launch a comeback as he got to 0-30 on the Djokovic serve, only for his opponent to win the point from an outrageous net-cord after a wildly mis-hit smash.
Murray's frustration was evident and he surrendered the next three points as Djokovic wrapped up what in the end was a comfortable victory in 171 minutes.