It was not to be fourth-time lucky for Britain's number one #Tennis player Andy Murray in the Australian Open after all, as he once again succumbed to his nemesis Novak Djokovic in the final. For a brief moment at the start of the third set it seemed that he had broken the Serbian's renowned fighting spirit, only for his rival to 'up the ante' and surge clear over the next two sets. Murray even suffered the indignity of being bagelled 6-0 in the clinching set by the resurgent top seed, as Djokovic claimed his fifth Aussie Grand Slam title 7-6 6-7 6-3 6-0 in a little over three and a half hours.
Murray had gone into the match in high spirits after his semi-final victory over Tomas Berdych, clearly in good form and (according to his soon-to-be father-in-law, Nigel Sears) fully fit, 'boasting' an impressive resting pulse of 37 beats per minute. His fiancée Kim was also in jovial mood, sporting a "Parental Advisory: Explicit Content" t-shirt to the final, in reference to the alleged swearing incident during the semi-final, where she seemed to mouth explicit comments in the direction of Berdych's backroom staff.
After a tight first set, in which Murray had several chances to break the Djokovic serve, it was the Serb who ultimately took it on a tie-break by seven points to five. It didn't seem to dampen the Scotsman's belief though, as he roared back at the start of the second set to get an early break and lead 2-0. Cue a period of alternating momentum swings, as first the former champion reeled off four games in a row to move 4-2 ahead of the Brit, then Murray bounced back to level at 4-4. The break back may have been assisted by a brief stoppage in play as an offensive banner was removed from the court, which seemed to help the number six seed to regain his focus.
Both players served out to take the score to 6-6, but not before they had each had to dig deep, as the two men sought that elusive extra service break for the set. This time it was Murray who took control of the tie-break and despite a slight wobble on set-point, he clinched the set 7-4.
It seemed that Djokovic was beginning to find the pace and power of the match all too much for him, as Murray then broke serve immediately at the beginning of set three. It had been a classy display by both players up to that point, with the Scot now seemingly in the ascendency. In the commentary box there was a belief that such had been the quality and effort for the first two sets, that it could not be maintained incessantly, something or someone would have to give ground.
Sadly (for British hopes), that man proved to be Murray, as from 3-3 in the third set, he was not to take another game in the match, as Djokovic demonstrated why he is the best player in the world. The third set was soon his at 6-3 and he stormed through the fourth set at a gallop, to inflict a third final defeat on his (off court) good friend. #CelebritiesMuch will no doubt be said (yet again) about the impact or not that his new coach Amelie Mauresmo has had on Murray, especially in light of the manner in which he fell away over the last one and a half sets of the match. From 2-0 up in the third set and seemingly moving towards the title himself, he somewhat inexplicably contrived to lose twelve of the last thirteen games to lose the match and (hence) the much coveted title. If Mauresmo's role among other things was to toughen up the Scot's matchplay at crucial stages in tournaments, then it did not have the required effect at the end of this tournament.