Novak Djokovic crushed Andy Murray 6-1, 7-5, 7-6(3) at Melbourne Park on Sunday to match Roy Emerson’s record of six Australian Open titles.
The defending champion was at his ruthless best under the lights at Rod Laver Arena, mauling Murray in the baseline duels and closing out the match in two hours and 53 minutes.
Murray succumbed to his fifth loss in five Australian Open finals, and fourth against the World No.1 Serbian, who claimed his 11th Grand Slam title to draw level with the totals of Rod Laver and Bjorn Borg.
Having fended off Murray in a marathon second set, Djokovic again had to put down some stiff Murray resistance in the third as the Scot refused to go quietly.
But having been dragged into a tiebreak, Djokovic sealed the title on his third match point with a clinical ace.
For a man who has owned the year’s first Grand Slam for five of the past six years after winning his first in 2008, Djokovic’s celebrations were subdued and he gave Murray a consoling pat on the chest as they shook hands.
“Andy, you are a great champion, a great person and a great friend and I’m sure you are going to have more opportunities to fight for this trophy,” Djokovic said at the trophy presentation.
“It’s an incredible feeling, especially because of the fact that I managed to make history tonight and equal Roy Emerson’s record of six Australian Opens,” Djokovic said.
Murray, whose wife Kim is pregnant at home in Britain and was rocked by a medical emergency involving his father-in-law at the tournament, was magnanimous in defeat.
“I feel like I’ve been here before,” Murray said jokingly as he took the microphone.
“I’d like to congratulate Novak. Six Australian Opens is an incredible feat. And what he has done in the last year has been incredible consistency.”
Djokovic started brilliantly in his semifinal win over Roger Federer and launched the same attack on Murray, breaking the Scot twice to roar into a 5-0 lead and winning 22 of the opening 29 points.
Sealing the set with an awesome serve, the Serb prised another four break-points in the third game of the second set but Murray dug in to hold with an ace.
Murray becomes only the second man to lose five finals at the same Grand Slam — joining former coach Ivan Lendl who lost five at the US Open.
Meanwhile, Brazil’s Bruno Soares clinched the Australian Open mixed doubles trophy — the same day he also won the men’s doubles, in the early hours of the morning.
Soares and Russia’s Elena Vesnina, seeded five, beat the unseeded pairing of American Coco Vandeweghe and her Romanian partner Horia Tecau 6-4, 4-6, 10-5 on Rod Laver Arena.