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Serbia's Novak Djokovic celebrates after winning his final match against Britain's Andy Murray at the Australian Open tennis tournament at Melbourne Park, Australia, on Sunday. (REUTERS/Brandon Malone)

Djokovic takes sixth Australian Open title

MELBOURNE, Australia — Surging Novak Djokovic won the Australian Open for a record-tying sixth time on Sunday as he hammered Andy Murray, 6-1, 7-5, 7-6 (7-3), to claim the 11th Grand Slam singles title of his career.
The top seed made it into the record books as he pulled alongside Roy Emerson with a victory that took just under three hours.

He also joined Rod Laver — present in the stadium named after him — and Bjorn Borg on 11 Grand Slam singles trophies.
Father-to-be Murray has now lost five Melbourne finals — four of them to Djokovic. The Serbian remains untouchable in Australian Open finals, winning six out of six.

“I tried not to think of records,” Djokovic said. “There is no doubt that I’m playing the tennis of my life these past 15 months.
“I don’t want to think about how far I can go or where the boundaries are. My goal is to play my best in the slams and fight for the trophy.”

Djokovic has won 11 of his last 12 matches against longtime rival Murray, against whom he now stands 22-9. His only recent loss came in the final at Montreal in 2015.
Djokovic boasts a 4-2 record against Murray in Grand Slam finals.

“I prepare myself for my biggest rivals,” Djokovic said as Murray made a dash for a post-midnight flight to London to be with pregnant wife Kim, due to give birth in the coming days.
“I work to analyze the games of my rival and get to a high level. I know what my game plan is and I try to execute.

“Today I managed to find the right formula for Andy.

“There is no reason for me to be anything but optimistic about my game. I’ve won almost every tournament that I’ve played. I believe I can win every match. That attitude is working for me so why not continue?”
Murray put a good humored spin on his defeat.

“It feels like I’ve been here before,” he joked. “Novak winning six Opens is an incredible feat, what he’s done in the last year — 11 titles last season, and two so far in 2016 — is incredibly consistent.”
Murray choked back tears briefly when he mentioned his wife in the trophy ceremony as Djokovic was presented with the silverware by former great Ken Rosewall.

“Obviously it’s very tough for me now, but I appreciate playing in front of such a great crowd. To my wife who is watching back home, you’ve been a legend for last the two weeks.
“I’ll be on the next flight home,” Murray said as his voice cracked.

Djokovic won his 21st straight match at a Grand Slam as he produced 31 winners and broke Murray five times. The Scot, who sleep-walked through the opening set, ended his evening with 65 unforced errors.
In the opening set, Djokovic grabbed a 5-0 lead in 19 minutes — Murray won just seven points — and had the first set in his pocket after half an hour.

“I’ve started the last couple of matches quite slowly,” Murray said. “I think, understandable in some respects. Obviously it’s not good to begin matches like that against someone like Novak.
“But I’m proud of the way I fought and managed to get myself back into the match and create chances for myself.”


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