AO2015: Djokovic wins his fifth Australian Open title - UBITENNIS
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AO2015: Djokovic wins his fifth Australian Open title

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TENNIS AO2015 – Novak Djokovic clinched his fifth Australian Open and the eighth Grand Slam title of his career with a 7-6 (7-5) 6-7 (4-7) 6-3 6-0 win over Andy Murray after three hours and 39 minutes in the Rod Laver Arena at Melbourne Park to close the gap on Australian Open legend Roy Emerson who won six times in the home Slam in 1961, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966 and 1967. Djokovic won his overall 8th Grand Slam title in a collection of Major titles which features the US Open in 2011 and Wimbledon in 2011 and 2014. His coach Boris Becker celebrated his second Grand Slam triumph after Wimbledon last July when Djokovic edged Roger Federer in a epic five-set final. Diego Sampaolo

 

AO2015: Interviews, Results, Order of Play, Draws

Novak Djokovic b. Andy Murray 7-6 6-7 6-3 6-0

Novak Djokovic part 1: “I’m not going to talk bad things about him in the press or find any excuses or something like this”

Novak Djokovic part 2: “you go through some particular moments that you can call crises during matches like these. This is what I had in these 15, 20 minutes. After that I felt better”

Novak Djokovic part 3: “I think tonight I played better (than against Wawrinka)”

Djokovic was unbeaten in the last four head-to-head matches against Murray but the Scotsman won two Grand Slam finals at the 2012 US Open and at Wimbledon in 2013. The two friends and rivals met for the fifth time in a Grand Slam final. Djokovic extended his winning streak to 16-8 in the 23 head-to-head matches overall including seven of the last eight match-ups and 13-6 in hard-court matches. They met for the third time in the final at the Australian Open after Djokovic beat his Scottish rival in the previous two title matches at Melbourne Park in 2011 and 2013.

Djokovic rallied from 0-40 to reel off five straight points at 1-1. In the fourth game the Serbian star broke serve to 15 with a crosscourt forehand return winner to build a 3-1 lead. Djokovic pulled away to 4-1 playing well on serve, although Murray did not play badly. Murray did not convert on two break point chances at 2-4 15-40 with two groundstrokes errors. Djokovic dropped serve when he hit his backhand wide allowing Murray to claw his way into the match. Murray went up 30-0 on his serve in the 8th game but Djokovic fought back to convert on his second break point chance to build a 5-3 lead. Djokovic had a problem with the thumb of his right hand and Murray took advantage breaking back to 15 in the next game for 4-5. The first set came down to the tie-break. Djokovic made a double fault at the start of the breaker but he fought back from 2-4 by winning three consecutive points to take the 5-4 lead. Djokovic clinched the breaker with 7-5 when Murray hit a backhand return into the net.

Murray opened up a 2-0 lead at the start of the second set when Djokovic hit his backhand into the net. Djokovic looked to have twisted his ankle. Djokovic rallied from 0-2 0-15 to reel off 12 consecutive points to build up a 4-2 lead. At 4-3 Djokovic missed two first serves at 30-all before Murray got the break with a forehand winner. Murray held serve to love to take the edge with 5-4. Murray recovered from 15-40 down at 5-4 but he failed to capitalize on a set point in the tenth game which lasted 15 minutes and featured five deuces. Djokovic finally managed to hold serve. Murray fended off three break points at 30-40 and twice more at deuce. The second set was decided by another tie-break where Murray opened up to a 4-1 lead before winning a rally of 26 strokes to pull away to 5-2. He brought up four set points at 6-2 but Djokovic recovered winning the next two points before Murray converted on his fourth set point to wrap up the second set with 7-4 in the breaker after a 80-minute battle.

After a two-hour and 32-minute battle in the first two sets Murray broke serve early in the third set for a 2-0 lead and looked to have taken control of the mach. Djokovic appeared injured at the start of the third set but he soon recovered with a series of winners. The Scotsman went down 0-30 at 1-2 and fended off one break point with an ace but he hit a wild forehand allowing Djokovic to break back for 2-all.

Murray failed to convert on a break point in the seventh game at 3-3 30-40 when he missed out on a backhand winner down the line. Murray faltered when he made a double fault in the 8th game at 3-4 15-40 allowing Djokovic to break again. Murray earned a break-back point in the next game but he hit the net with a half-volley. Djokovic wrapped up the third game with 6-3 after 39 minutes.

From then on Djokovic took the full control of the match winning the fourth set with 6-0. It was the second match in a row that Djokovic won the final set with 6-0 two days after his five-set bagel against Stan Wawrinka in the semifinal. In the fourth set Murray dropped serve to 30. Djokovic got two more breaks in the third game to 15 and again in the fifth game to 15 before clinching his third final win over Murray in Melbourne. Murray lost his fourth Australian Open final (the three against Djokovic and the other against Roger Federer in 2010)

Djokovic hit 53 winners to 40 unforced errors and converted on nine of his break point chances. He hit 8 aces and made just one double fault. Murray produced 41 winners and 49 unforced errors and broke serve five times.

Djokovic was presented with the Australian Open Trophy by Australian Open legend Roy Emerson, who holds the record of six Melbourne titles.

I am privileged and honored and grateful to be standing here here for the fifth title, to be in an elite group of players, with legends of our sport out watching”, said Djokovic

Nole paid tribute for his close friend Andy, who is just one week older than the Belgrade native and offered him his best wishes to the Scotsman for his wedding which will be celebrated at the end of the year.

First of all I want to congratulate Andy for his great tournament. And congratulations to you and Kim on your engagement. I wish you many kids”, said Djokovic during the award ceremony

Despite the injury problem in the third set Djokovic won 12 of the last games.

There were a lot of turning points in the match. As I think everybody predicted, it was going to be a big battle. Regardless of the record that I have here and regardless of the fact that he played three finals here, without winning a title, we both knew that we had equal chances to win it, It was very similar match to the Australian Open final in 2013 when we played the first two sets for two and a half hours, It was very physical and very exhausting. We both went through some tough moments physically. You could see that I had a crisis at the end of the second set and at the beginning of the third. I just felt exhausted and I needed some time to regroup and recharge and get back on track. That’s what I have done. I started hitting ball and trying to be a little bit more aggressive coming to the net, shortening the points. I got a very important break of serve at 2-Love for him in the third that got me back in the match mentally as well. It was a cat and mouse fight. It always is. We always try to outplay the opponents with the groundstrokes, with the long rallies, a lot of variety of the games, spin, flat, slice and dropshots. I think both went out with the full repertoire of the shots we have. From my side it was very exhausting. I am just glad that I believed that I believed it all the way through. I saved some breakpoints at 3-all in the third set and managed to make that break and win the third set. After that I felt huge relief. I felt I could swing through the ball. I felt the momentum was on my side and I wanted to use that. At this level very few points can turn things around on the court as we could see tonight”, reflected Djokovic

In matches like this a lot of emotions go through, a lot of tension. It’s not easy to keep the concentration 100% all the way through. There was the interruption with people coming into the court. It was a long delay. I was a set and a break up serving. I lost that serve. He started going through the ball more, being more aggressive, He was not the freshest player as well in the second and third set. It’s normal to expect that after the amount and length of rallies that we had. It’s just all so physical”

Djokovic expressed his feeling on the importance of winning such an important title in one of the best moments of his life following the marriage to Jelena and the birth of their son Stephan.

This fifth title has a deeper meaning, more intrinsic value now to my life because I am a father and a husband. It’s the first Grand Slam title I won as a father and a husband. I just feel very proud of it. It try on the right path and committed to this sport in every possible way that I have had in the last couple of years and try to use the prime time of my career where I am playing and feeling the best at 27. This is why I play the sport to win big titles and to put myself in a position to play also for the people around me. I know how much sacrifice they put in my own career. I try to thank them and not take anything for granted. As my life progresses, there are circumstances, situations and events that define these beautiful moments. Getting married and becoming a father in the last six months was definitely something that I never felt before. Right now everything has been going in such a positive direction in my life. I am so grateful for that. I try to live these moments with all my heart”, said Djokovic

Despite the defeat Murray can be happy with his Australian Open in which he returned to a Grand Slam final after a difficult 2014 season.

It has been my most consistent Grand Slam throughout my career. I just haven’t been able to win it. We have put in a lot of work to try and get back in this position after a difficult year. Unfortunately we could not do it tonight but I am a little bit closer than I was a few months ago. We will keep working hard to try and get there. I will try to come back next year and have a slightly different outcome in the final”, said Murray.

The Dunblane native admitted after the match that he was disappointed with the third set when he broke serve in the second game.

I had opportunities in the first three sets. Then in the fourth set I needed to watch it back to see if I played badly. He was just ripping everything. He was hitting returns on the baseline which were far from the line all the time. Once he got up a break, he just loosened up and was just going for his shots. I couldn’t recover. So the fourth set wasn’t as frustrating to me. The third set was frustrating because I got a bit distracted when he fell on the ground after a couple of shots. It appeared that he was cramping and then I let that distract me a little bit. That’s what I am most disappointed about, not so much the fourth set because especially at the end of it, he was just going for everything and it was going in. But the third set was more frustrating for me”, reflected Murray

I don’t think he went for broke at the end because he was afraid of a fifth set, that he thought he couldn’t last a fifth set. He was moving unbelievable at the end of of the third set, sliding and chasing everything down. I think it was just more that once he got up he loosened up a bit, and then was just going for his shots. Maybe if he started to miss a couple, then you kind of rein it back a little bit. But he wasn’t missing, so he just kept going for it”

Novak looked like he was in quite a bad way at the beginning of the third set and came back unbelievable at the end of the third set. Then obviously the way he was hitting the ball in the fourth and moving was impressive. I don’t know exactly what the issue was for him. If it was cramp, how he recovered from it, that’s a tough thing to recover from and play as well as he did at the end. So I am frustrated at myself for letting that bother me at the beginning of the third set because I was playing well. I had a good moment, and then just dropped off for like 10 minutes and it got away from me. That’s the most frustrating thing because I thought I had opportunities in the first set. I couldn’t quite get them.I managed to sneak the second. Then there was that break up in the third. There were definitely opportunities there”

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Denis Shapovalov Handles Opelka To Reach Australian Open Fourth Round

The Canadian managed to get past his 6ft 11 American opponent in a match that lasted over three hours.

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Denis Shapovalov - Credit: AELTC/Edward Whitaker

Denis Shapovalov is into the fourth round of the Australian Open after beating 23rd seed Reilly Opelka 7-6, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 in three hours and two minutes on Margeret Court Arena.

 

The Canadian hit 39 winners and served 10 aces while limiting Opelka to just 17 aces. In contrast the American finished the match with a costly 46 unforced errors as Shapovalov booked his spot in the second week of the tournament.

” I think I did a really good job against Reilly (Opelka) today and I took a lot of my chances and managed to get a read on his serve,” said the world No.14.

Both players were doing a good job early on when it came to holding serve and at 3-3 it was the Toronto native who had three chances to break. On his third opportunity broke serve with his trademark backhand winner.

However, that break didn’t last long for Shapovalov as he struggled to consolidate the break and ultimately gave the break right back with a poor service game and it was back on serve at 4-4.

The first was decided by a tiebreaker and Shapovalov got the crucial break to take a 3-1 lead in the breaker which was enough for him to take the first set.

The second frame was much like the first with both players holding serve until 3-3 when Opelka broke serve. He was able to consolidate and serve out the set to level the match.

The third set stayed on serve until 3-2 and the momentum swung back in the Canadians favor. He got the break of serve this time using his forehand to great effect and served out the third to take a two sets to one lead.

Just like the third set the fourth set had no breaks until 3-2 when again the number 14 seed broke Opelka serve again and that break of serve was enough for him to serve out the match and the win.

After the match in his post-match interview, he was asked how he was able to limit his opponent to just 17 aces in the match.

” It’s never easy against Reilly (Opelka) but I am happy I was able to pull through and make it to the next round”. He said.

Shapovalov will face the number three seed Alexander Zverev in the round of 16.

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Felix Auger-Aliassime Survives Australian Open Marathon

For a second time this week the Canadian was pushed but managed to win a tough four-set match against his Spanish opponent.

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Felix Auger-Aliassime (Manuela Davies/USTA)

Felix Auger-Aliassime booked his spot in the third round of the Australian Open after beating Alejandro Davidovich Fokina 7-6, 6-7, 7-6, 7-6 in a match that lasted four hours and 20 minutes.

 

The Montreal native hit 58 winners and served 28 aces while Davidovich Fokina hit 51 unforced errors. It is the second time the 21-year-old has reached the last 32 in Melbourne Park in what is his third appearence.

The first game of the match was a nervy one for the world number nine as it lasted six minutes and it involved him saving two breakpoints before being able to hold serve. The opener stayed on serve until 2-2 when the Fokina came up with an impressive passing shot to set up two more chances for the first break of serve of the match and this time managed to convert. Three games later the Canadian fought back and broke right back to go back on serve.

It was a tiebreak which decided the first set. The Montreal native jumped out to a 3-0 lead before the Spaniard came back again to win the next four points but the Canadian responded again winning three straight points to take the breaker 7-4 and the first set.

The second set was another impressive performance on serve by both players and once again was decided by a back and forth breaker that this time was won by Davidovich Fokina to level the match.

The third frame was much the same as both players kept their level up and not much differentiated the two. This tiebreaker was much more straightforward as the Canadian jumped out to a 5-1 lead before closing out the third set 7-5 and taking two sets to one lead.

The fourth set stayed on serve until 2-1 when the world number 50 had a chance to break and was able to get it for a 3-1 lead before the Canadian was able to break back the following game to go back on serve.

For the fourth time, the set was decided by a tiebreaker and this one was super tight with the Canadian getting the crucial break to take a 4-3 lead and that one break was enough for him to serve it out.

Auger Aliassime will now face Dan Evans in the third round after the Brit was handed a walkover against Frenchman Arthur Rinderknech who pulled out of the match due to injury.

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‘Best Feeling I’ve Ever Had’ – Underdog Christopher O’Connell Stuns Schwartzman At Australian Open

Prior to this week the 27-year-old had never won a main draw match at Melbourne Park or beaten a top 20 player.

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World No.175 Christopher O’Connell has pulled off a major upset at the Australian Open by knocking out 13th seed Diego Schwartzman.

 

The 27-year-old wild card had only ever won one match in the main draw of a Grand Slam prior to this year but illustrated the talent that he has with a 7-6, 6-4, 6-4, win over Schwartzman. A player who is currently ranked 162 places above him in the rankings. Against the Argentine he fired a total of 44 winners and won 75% of his first service points on route to claiming his first win over a top 20 player.

“It’s the best feeling I’ve ever had on a tennis court. I’ve been playing tennis since I was four. To have moments like this it’s a dream come true.” O’Connell said during his press conference.

Despite the straightforward score, the match itself was a marathon. The opener alone lasted for almost 90 minutes with the underdog saving three set points whilst down 4-5 before prevailing in the tiebreaker. Then in the following two sets he broke Schwartzman three times in total.

“I knew how crucial that first set was. It was really warming up out there. It was really a battle back and forth. It was crucial to get that first set, especially in the heat,” he said.

A late bloomer on the men’s Tour, the Australian started to make a breakthrough last year by reaching his first quarter-final at the Atlanta Open where he defeated Jannik Sinner. During that year he also reached the final of a French Challenger event before withdrawing due to injury and reached the second round of the US Open.

O’Connell, who has been ranked as high as 111th in the world, credits his coach for helping him reach new milestones in the sport. He is mentored by former player Marinko Matosevic who reached a ranking high of 39th back in 2013 and made more than $2M in prize money during his playing career.

“The process didn’t start yesterday. It’s been happening all of last year,” he stated.
“I’ve been working with Marinko. He’s just really confident with how I want to play tennis now. It’s the first time I’ve really had a one-on-one coach literally every day with me.’
“Marinko was such a great player. All his knowledge of the game, he’s just putting it onto me.”

Next up for O’Connell will be the in-form Maxime Cressy who lost to Rafael Nadal in the final of the Melbourne Summer Set just over a week ago. The American defeated Czech qualifier Tomáš Macháč 6-1, 3-6, 6-1, 7-6(5), in his second round match.

“I knew I had good results in me. It’s just being consistent. I felt today was a consistent match from me,” he reflected.
“But the biggest thing for me is just staying healthy, not having these injuries where I miss two months of tournaments. I nearly missed five or six months last year. I can’t be doing that.’
“The belief is always there, but I just got to make sure my body’s healthy this year. I want to play a full year.”

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