Melbourne, Jan 30 (AP) Novak Djokovic won his secondAustralian Open title, breezing past Andy Murray 6-4 6-2 6-3today to extend Britain''s near 75-year drought in men''ssingles Grand Slams.
Murray has now been runner-up in three Grand Slam finals- losing to Roger Federer at both the 2008 U S Open and the2010 Australian Open before his third disappointment todaywhich enabled Djokovic to add to his 2008 Australian title.
The Scotsman has not won a set in a Grand Slam final.Last year, Murray had tears after his loss to Federer. Theyweren''t immediately visible this year, but the hurt may havebeen just has bad after he lost seven straight games throughthe end of the first set and into the second and neverappeared to be in the match.
The last British man to win a Grand Slam singles titlewas Fred Perry at the 1936 U S Open - more than 270 majorsago.
Murray and Djokovic, who are each 23 and were born a weekapart, are good friends and often practice together. At thecoin flip ahead of the match, Djokovic smiled broadly forphotos while Murray looked fidgety and nervous.
After the match, the two hugged, then Djokovic threw hisracket, his shirt and then his shoes into the crowd.
The roof was closed on Rod Laver Arena for most of theday due to 38 Celsius (100 Fahrenheit) temperatures, but wasopened just before the match started and after the weather hadcooled significantly.
Trailing 5-4, Murray double-faulted to lead off the 10thgame of the first set. Then he hit a backhand into the netafter a 39-hit point. Murray challenged the final point of theset when he thought his forehand stayed in on the backline,but Djokovic walked away with the set in 59 minutes.
Djokovic held serve on four straight points to open thesecond set, then went up 2-0 when he again broke Murray''sservice, finishing off the point when Murray''s attempted dropshot was returned crosscourt for a winner. Murray had fiveunforced errors in the first two games.
The Serbian player went up 3-0, then continued hisdomination in the next game, breaking Murray in four straightpoints to go up 4-0 and held for 5-0, his seventh straightgame win. Murray finally stopped the streak with an ace ongame point to trail 5-1, then broke Djokovic in the next gameto cut the margin to 5-2. (More) AP SHNMurray appeared to be having problems with his eyes, blinking often and rubbing them on changeovers and oftenduring points. That didn''t help in the next game when he againdropped serve and lost the second set in 40 minutes, Djokovicestablishing set point with a memorable crosscourt winner offa near-impossible shot from Murray.
The third set started with Murray''s second break ofDjokovic''s service in the match, but Djokovic ensure thatMurray''s advantage was short-lived by breaking him in the nextgame. After an unforced error wide, Murray pounded his fistand yelled out in disgust.
Things didn''t improve for Murray, who held off six breakpoints before Djokovic prevailed on the seventh in the fourthgame, hitting a backhand down the line to pass a stretchingMurray. Djokovic pumped his fist and let out a loud yell incelebration.That, too, was short-lived, when Murray broke back in thenext game to pull to within 3-2, then held through two breakpoints to level the set at 3-3. Late in the match, Murrayappeared to clutch his lower back after a low return on thebaseline.
Djokovic soon broke serve again and then served it out.
Djokovic now leads the head-to-head series 5-3, ending athree-match streak for Murray. (AP) SHN