Novak Djokovic continued his dominance of the Australian Open by overwhelming an irritated Daniil Medvedev to win a record-extending ninth men’s title.
Top seed Djokovic won 7-5 6-2 6-2 to claim his 18th Grand Slam, leaving him two behind Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal in the men’s record books.
— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) February 21, 2021
The 33-year-old Serb has never lost a final at Melbourne Park and beating Medvedev is a third triumph in a row.
Russian fourth seed Medvedev, 25, has lost both of his Grand Slam finals.
After collecting the trophy, Djokovic told the Rod Laver Arena: “I love you each year more and more. The love affair keeps going.”
Medvedev, who lost to Nadal in the 2019 US Open final, was tipped to push Djokovic close and win his maiden major.
The Russian had reached the Melbourne final on the back of a 20-match winning streak, but floundered under the intense pressure applied by Djokovic.
Throwing racquets, poor body language and shouting angrily at his team were an illustration of how the Russian imploded in the third set, contrasting starkly with Djokovic’s confident and steely exterior.
Djokovic clinched the title after one hour and 53 minutes with a backhand overhead volley, falling to the blue court on his back before lapping up the acclaim of the reduced 7,500 crowd.
Djokovic roared loudly and tapped his heart, before exchanging hugs with coach Goran Ivanisevic and the rest of his support team.
After thinking an abdominal injury earlier in the tournament might scupper his chances, the pride and relief of Team Djokovic was clear in their celebrations.
Djokovic sealed the two-set advantage with a crunching forehand which Medvedev could not handle.
Medvedev had never won after losing the opening two sets, but did fight back against Nadal at the 2019 US Open to force a decider.
Negativity looked to be deep-rooted, however, and the prospect of a similar fightback looked far-fetched.
There was a brief glimmer of hope at 30-30 in the seventh game of the third set, but Djokovic held for 5-2 – prodding his temple with his finger to emphasise his mental toughness – and served out to seal a one-sided win which few expected.
“We know how tough Novak is and he played a sensational final,” said former British number one Annabel Croft on BBC Radio 5 Live.
“You have to be so dialled in, in all departments. Medvedev went away from the tactics he showed in the first set and went into a slump and a strop.”
— Daniil Medvedev (@DaniilMedwed) February 21, 2021