Novak Djokovic has thrashed Daniil Medvedev to claim the record-extending ninth Australian Open title.
The world’s 7-5 6-2 6-2 win on Sunday under the lights at Rod Laver Arena claimed his 18th Grand Slam title, bringing Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal’s 20-year-old men’s record.
Djokovic used excellent service and his usual unrelenting return and baseline perfection to catch 11 out of 13 games in one leg and beat Medvedev’s clearly disappointed third trophy in a row at Melbourne Park.
The 33-year-old from Serbia advanced to 18-0 in the semifinals and finals in the difficult Australian Open courts.
“It’s been a rollercoaster week for me,” said Djokovic, who was blamed for moaning about coronavirus quarantine conditions that players had to undergo when they arrived in Australia for the tournament.
Djokovic has won six of the last 10 major tournaments and is certain that he will remain number one in the rankings at least until March 8. That’s going to send him 311 weeks in the top position, smashing the record set by Federer.
The number four-ranked Medvedev was in his second Grand Slam final – he was the runner-up to Nadal at the 2019 US Open – but he is also seeking to win his first such championship.
Djokovic stopped the 25-year-old Russian 20-game winning streak. Medvedev has won his previous 12 matches against the top 10 rivals.
But going against Djokovic in Australia is a very different challenge. Spectators had been barred indefinitely for five days earlier in the tournament due to a local COVID-19 lockout, but were ultimately lowered down to 50 percent availability.
The majority preferred Djokovic on Sunday, too many choruses of his nickname rang out – “No-le, No-le, No-le! “And the Serbian flags were piercing the stands, flapping in a swirling wind.
This was his 28th major final, and Nadal was the second-most man in tennis history, after Federer’s 31st.