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Djokovic Embarrasses a Legend at Aussie Open

Rafael Nadal loses final to relentless Djokovic, who marches to his 7th tournament title
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jan 27, 2019 7:57 AM CST
Spain's Rafael Nadal misses a backhand to Serbia's Novak Djokovic during the men's singles final at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne, Australia, Sunday, Jan. 27, 2019.   (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)
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(Newser) – Novak Djokovic was so good, so relentless, so pretty much perfect, that Rafael Nadal never stood a chance. Djokovic reduced one of the greats of the game to merely another outclassed opponent—just a guy, really—and one so out of sorts that Nadal even whiffed on one of his famous forehands entirely. In a remarkably dominant and mistake-free performance that yielded a remarkably lopsided result, that AP reports that the No. 1-ranked Djokovic overwhelmed Nadal 6-3, 6-2, 6-3 on Sunday night to win a record seventh Australian Open championship and a third consecutive Grand Slam title, raising his count to 15 overall. "An amazing level of tennis," Nadal acknowledged. After dropping only four games in the semifinals, Djokovic spoke about being "in the zone." Clearly, he did not budge from there, producing 34 winners and only nine unforced errors Sunday.

And this was against no slouch, of course: Nadal is ranked No. 2, owns 17 major trophies himself and hadn't dropped a set in the tournament. But Djokovic left Nadal smirking or gritting his teeth or punching his racket strings, unable to compete at all. "Tonight," Nadal said, "was not my night." So Djokovic added to previous triumphs in Melbourne in 2008, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015, and 2016, along with four at Wimbledon, three at the US Open, and one at the French Open. He broke his tie with Roger Federer and Roy Emerson for most Australian Open men's titles. He also broke a tie with Pete Sampras for third-most Grand Slam trophies; Djokovic only trails Federer, with 20, and Nadal. And he is gaining on them. "To be standing now here in front of you today and managing to win this title and three out of four Slams is truly amazing," Djokovic said. "I am speechless." (It was a rough tournament for some of the sport's biggest names.)


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