Djokovic beats Nadal to win a record seventh Australian Open

Reuters  Lucy Nicholson

Reuters Lucy Nicholson

When it was all said and done, Djokovic had nine unforced errors to Nadal's 28 - although Nadal said that unforced errors is a bit of misnomer. At the end of 2010 season, in terms of Grand slams, Federer had 16, Nadal 9 and Djokovic just one.

Novak Djokovic won the Australian Open title for a record seventh time on Sunday, defeating Spanish world number two Rafael Nadal in straight sets 6-3, 6-2, 6-3 at Melbourne's Rod Laver Arena. Spain's Rafael Nadal congratulates Serbia's Novak Djokovic after the match.

But Australia has been really kind to me throughout my career, I can to say at least.' Before the meeting with Lucas Pouille, Djokovic had refused to speak about his eventual clash with Nadal. "It was unbelievable the way that he played, no doubt about that".

And this was against no slouch, of course: Nadal is ranked No. 2, owns 17 major trophies himself and hadn't dropped a set in the tournament.

Djokovic left Nadal smirking or gritting his teeth or punching his racket strings, unable to compete at all. But Djokovic seems to feel that he's neutralized the Federer threat. But if Djokovic is the monarch of Melbourne, Nadal is the king of clay. The world's two best players were indeed on court Sunday, but one showed he's far better than the other-and everyone else, for that matter.

Djokovic had five breaks of serve while conceding only a single break point against an opponent, who was yet to lose a set en route to the final.

It follows triumphs at Wimbledon and the US Open a year ago and has earned him the chance to aim for his second "Djoker slam" - holding all four major titles simultaneously - at the French Open, starting on May 26.

When Djokovic's childhood idol, Pete Sampras, won the 2002 U.S. Open by beating his greatest rival, Andre Agassi, in the final, it raised his Grand Slam count to 14.

And he is gaining on them. We'll see. Obviously it's just the beginning of the season.

He goes into the next grand slam at the French Open in May with a chance to repeat his feat of holding all four slams at once that he achieved from victory at Wimbledon in 2015 to lifting the French Open in 2016. "To surpass him with Grand Slam titles, I'm speechless", he said.

Djokovic sat out the last half of 2017.

Williams missed the 2018 tournament after having a baby; her quarterfinal run this time pushed her up five places to No. 11.

He is once again at an elite level.

"Not impossible, but highly unlikely". I always believe I can play this way, visualise myself playing this way.

"When I was starting to play, one of the first images of tennis was him playing Wimbledon, winning I think his first title back in '92..."

Djokovic and Nadal know each other, their styles and their patterns all too well.

This is Djokovic's third Grand Slam title in a row, following his triumphs at Wimbledon and the US Open.

Evenly matched as they were that night, this time was no contest. He slid and stretched and occasionally even did the splits, contorting his body to get wherever he needed to. My first priority, more than winning titles or not, is to be happy. A trend was established.

Even the most fervent of Federer fans - and there are plenty of those - would struggle to make a case for their man as a realistic challenger to Djokovic.

"It was truly a ideal match", Djokovic told reporters, noting that he had committed just 14 unforced errors combined in the final and semi-final which was "pleasantly surprising to myself as well".

With two more breaks, Djokovic seized a two-sets-to-love advantage - and there was no way back for Nadal.

Djokovic knuckled down to complete an astonishing rout.

At the moment, no one can.

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