Australian Open: Djokovic outlasts Murray for fifth title

    Story highlights

    • Novak Djokovic beats Andy Murray in the Australian Open final
    • The world No. 1 wins in four sets after a punishing first two sets
    • Djokovic becomes the second man to claim five Oz titles
    • Murray loses his fourth Australian Open final

    (CNN)You just can't stop Novak Djokovic at the Australian Open.

    When the world No. 1 beat sixth-seed Andy Murray 7-6 (5) 6-7 (4) 6-3 6-0 in a contentious slugfest in Melbourne, he become only the second man to claim five Australian Open titles.
      And with Djokovic 27, odds are that he'll match Roy Emerson's record haul of six. Emerson was in attendance Sunday along with other Australian tennis legends, including Rod Laver.
      "I love my time being here," Djokovic told reporters. "Being mentioned in the elite group of legends in our sport is a huge privilege and honor. I can't say how proud I am.
      "That's going to serve definitely only as a great deal of inspiration for the rest of my career."
      This was the third time Djokovic downed the Scot in a final at Melbourne Park and how Murray will be ruing blowing a lead in the third set. Mind you, Djokovic let slip a 4-2 advantage in the second set and thus might have won in three if not for a lapse.
      Djokovic looked spent physically early in the second and in the opening stages of the third, by which time the two had been on court for almost three hours.
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      He wobbled on his feet, struggled to get serves in play and went to ground after a rally.
      Not that Murray wanted to buy into any of it. He felt the Serb was bluffing and could be heard uttering on court about his friend: "Don't worry about him, he does it all the time."
      Murray, though, did let it get to him.
      "He obviously looked like he was in quite a bad way at the beginning of the third set and came back unbelievable at the end of that set," Murray told reporters afterward. "Then obviously the way he was hitting the ball in the fourth and moving was impressive.
      "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, yeah, I'm frustrated at myself for letting that bother me at the beginning of the third set, because I was playing well, I had good momentum, and then just dropped off for like 10 minutes and it got away from me."
      Djokovic overturned a 2-0 hole in the third and saved a break point at 3-3 when he struck a drop volley that forced Murray into an error.
      Djokovic immediately urged the crowd to back him and they did. Energized, he didn't lose another game to collect his eighth major overall to join among others Murray's former coach, Ivan Lendl.
      A cool handshake at the net after roughly four hours of play followed.
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      Murray, too, didn't laugh during the trophy presentation when new dad Djokovic wished him and fiancee Kim Sears "many kids" in the future.
      Djokovic denied he was feigning injury or trying to throw Murray off his game.
      "The length of the rallies and the physicality that we had in the first two sets have taken an energy from me," Djokovic said. "It's normal to expect that you can't always be, you know, at your 100%.
      "So 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."
      If Murray wasn't best pleased with Djokovic's antics, he should also spare some criticism for his own second serve.
      Against the elite Murray's second serve can be the source of trouble and on Sunday Djokovic captured 66% of those points.
      Djokovic began the final flawlessly, hitting 10 winners and one unforced error to build a commanding 4-1 lead.
      Broken at 4-2, Djokovic regained the break but injured his thumb when he slipped near the net.
      Temporarily frazzled, Djokovic couldn't serve out the set and called for the trainer.
      A Murray double fault at 4-2 in the tiebreak -- a double fault by Murray in a tiebreak in the 2013 final was costly -- and later a missed volley gifted Djokovic the first.
      Djokovic won 13 straight points at one stage in the second set to reverse a break deficit but said a brief stoppage after two protestors ran on court in the middle of the second halted his progression. A strong start from Murray in the tiebreak was enough to see him level the affair.
      By this time he was clearly in the ascendancy and needed to put Djokovic -- who had lost five of his previous seven grand slam finals -- away. The knockout blow never came and Djokovic ultimately improved to 8-1 in his last nine matches against Murray.
      He ended the match as he began it, making a paltry three unforced errors in the fourth.
      "I started hitting the ball more, covering the court better, shortening the points," said Djokovic.
      Yet Murray did something this fortnight he wasn't able to achieve last year as he recovered from back surgery -- land in a grand slam final.
      "We put in a lot of hard work to try to get back in this position after what was a difficult year last year," he told the crowd, referring to his entourage. "Unfortunately I couldn't do it tonight but I'm a little bit closer than I was a few months ago and I'll keep working hard to get there."
      Like Saturday's women's winner, Serena Williams, Djokovic has never been beaten past the quarterfinals at Melbourne Park.
      A pair of veterans won Sunday's mixed doubles title. Leander Paes and Martina Hingis, who flourished for the Washington Kastles in World Team Tennis, beat Daniel Nestor and Kristina Mladenovic 6-4 6-3. Paes is 41 and Hingis is 34.