MELBOURNE: World number one Novak Djokovic hammered a misfiring Andy Murray in straight sets to win a record-equalling sixth Australian Open title and strengthen his grip on men’s tennis on Sunday.
The Serbian world number one swept to a 6-1, 7-5, 7-6 (7/3) victory in two hours, 53 minutes to hand Murray his fifth defeat in the Melbourne Park final.
Djokovic equalled the tally of Australia’s Roy Emerson, who won the tournament six times between 1961 and 1967, an achievement that has gone unmatched in the 49 years since.
It was also Djokovic’s 11th Grand Slam title, and he moved into equal fifth place with Rod Laver and Bjorn Borg behind 17-time leader Roger Federer.
Djokovic paid tribute to his vanquished rival, telling the crowd at the presentation: “Tough luck tonight Andy, you are a great champion, you’re a great friend, a great person.
“He’s very professional and committed to this sport, so I am sure in the future he is going to have more opportunities to play for this trophy.”
Djokovic underlined his status as the dominant force in Melbourne, after downing Jo-Wilfried Tsonga to win his first major title in 2008 and beating Rafael Nadal in an epic final in 2012, along with his four wins over Murray in 2011, 2013, 2015 and now 2016.
Djokovic also extended his Grand Slam winning streak to 21 matches, and he has not lost a match at the majors since he was defeated by Stan Wawrinka in last year’s French Open final at Roland Garros.
While Djokovic was further enhancing his reputation, Murray has the unwanted statistic of becoming only the second man in the post-1968 Open Era to lose five Grand Slam finals at any one major.
Ivan Lendl, Murray’s former coach, lost five finals at the US Open in 1982-1984 and 1988-1989, before winning at Flushing Meadows in 1985-1987.