Sunday, February 1, 2015

Aussie Open Day 14: Djokovic wins fifth Melbourne title

Novak Djokovic, shown at Indian Wells in 2012, wore down
Andy Murray in four sets for his eighth Grand Slam singles title.
Photo by Paul Bauman
   Men's final -- Novak Djokovic became the first man in the Open era (since 1968) to win five Australian Open singles titles as he wore down Andy Murray 7-6 (5), 6-7 (4), 6-3, 6-0 today in 3 hours, 40 minutes at Melbourne Park.
   The first two sets lasted 2 hours, 32 minutes, but Djokovic won the last nine games of the match. In the second and third sets, he stumbled around the court several times but quickly recovered. Djokovic later attributed the lapses to fatigue.
   Murray, meanwhile, won only 34 percent of the points on his second serve, which averaged just 83 mph (134 kph).
   Djokovic, just beginning his prime at 27, tied Andre Agassi, Jimmy Connors, Ivan Lendl, Fred Perry and Ken Rosewall with eight Grand Slam singles crowns.
   Murray, a two-time Grand Slam champion and an Olympic gold medalist, fell to 0-4 in Australian Open finals. He spent last year rebounding from "minor" back surgery in September 2013.
   Notable -- Martina Hingis won her first Grand Slam title since coming back from retirement, teaming with 41-year-old Leander Paes of India to beat defending champions Kristina Mladenovic of France and 42-year-old Daniel Nestor of Canada 6-4, 6-3 in mixed doubles.
   Hingis, 34, has won 16 Grand Slam titles in singles, doubles and mixed doubles, including nine in the Australian Open. She returned to competition in 2013 to play doubles only.  
   Stars and stripes -- U.S. men have gone 45 consecutive Grand Slam tournaments without winning a singles title. Andy Roddick is the last to accomplish the feat, in the 2003 U.S. Open.
   Robby Ginepri, 32, is the only active American man to have reached a major semifinal. He lost to Andre Agassi in five sets in the 2005 U.S. Open semis.
   Ginepri, a right-hander, broke his left elbow in 2010 when he fell off his bicycle trying to avoid a squirrel and underwent surgery. Ranked a career-high No. 15 in December 2005, he is now No. 222.
   Northern California connection -- Murray won the first of his 31 career Grand Slam or ATP World Tour titles in San Jose at 18 in 2006 and repeated the following year. He never returned, and the tournament folded after 2013. Murray also won the Comerica Bank Challenger in Aptos at 18 in 2005. Djokovic has never played in Northern California.
   Fast facts -- Djokovic has captured four of the last five Australian Open titles. This was the third time he and Murray have met in the Melbourne final; Djokovic won in straight sets in 2011 and in four sets in 2013.
   Djokovic has won the last five meetings against Murray and eight of the last nine. The exception was the 2013 Wimbledon final as Murray became the first British man in 77 years to capture the title.
   Murray was born one week before Djokovic, who said they have known each other since they were "11 or 12."
   Quote -- Murray, when asked if he thought Djokovic stumbled intentionally: "I would hope that wouldn't be the case."

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