Novak Djokovic produced one of the finest performances in Australian Open history to secure his seventh singles title in an unexpectedly dominant straight-sets win against Rafael Nadal on Sunday night.
The 31-year-old Serbian was near-perfect in beating the dogged Spaniard 6-3 6-2 6-3 in just two hours and four minutes on Rod Laver Arena to collect his 15th grand slam title.
The resurgent world No.1 emphatically dismantled world No.2 Nadal, who had not dropped a set before the final.
In doing so, Djokovic surpassed the six Open titles of Swiss master Roger Federer and Australian Roy Emerson, and also passed American Pete Sampras in moving to outright third on the all-time grand slam title leaderboard behind only Federer (20) and Nadal (17).
🇷🇸 CHAMPIONSHIP 🇷🇸
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Looking ahead, the reigning Wimbledon, US Open and Australian Open champion will head to the French Open at Roland Garros in May with a chance to complete his second “Novak Slam”, having won all four majors consecutively in 2015-16.
No male player has won the Grand Slam (winning all four majors in the calendar year) since the ‘Rockhampton Rocket’ Rod Laver achieved the rare feat for the second time in 1969. He did so first in 1962, to stand alongside American Don Budge’s domination in 1938.
It took Djokovic just 36 minutes to rein in Nadal after breaking the second seed’s first service game of the match.
Relentless and error-free from the back of the court, Djokovic’s domination continued in the second set as the stressed Spaniard’s mistake rate soared.
With two more breaks, Djokovic seized a two-sets-to-love advantage, and there was no way back for Nadal.
With a fifth service break in the third set, Djokovic clinched the title after only two hours and four minutes.
On his way to lifting the Norman Brookes Challenge Cup Djokovic made just nine unforced errors in 26 games, while Nadal made 28.
Hitting 34 winners to 21, Djokovic also converted five of eight break points and only had to save one break point.