Rafael Nadal was a player to beat in 2019, securing four Major and Masters 1000 titles and lifting the Davis Cup Finals trophy with his teammates in Madrid. Nadal did not reach the semi-final only twice that year and did enough to clinch the year-end no.
1 honor for the fifth time and the second in three years. Things did not look bright for Rafa in the opening four months, though, recovering from a knee injury that forced him to skip the final stages of 2018. The Spaniard experienced his most brutal defeat in the Major finals in Melbourne, losing to Novak Djokovic 6-3, 6-2, 6-4 in two hours and four minutes.
Nadal did not lose a set before the title match, suffering only two breaks in six encounters and hoping to win the Australian Open after ten years. Still, Novak was not an ordinary rival, and Rafa's improvements were not enough to topple the Serb or put a proper fight.
Nadal's last victory over Djokovic on the hard court had come at the 2013 US Open. The Spaniard could not change that in this one, dropping 13th of the last 16 matches against the mighty opponent and settling with the runner-up prize.
Djokovic's sublime performance left Nadal with nothing in his arsenal to change the outcome, as the Serb had the upper hand from the very first point. Novak controlled the pace with a masterclass hitting from both wings, opening the space and forcing Rafa to play far behind the baseline from where he could not produce any damage.
Losing serve only twice before the final, the Spaniard was in all kinds of trouble after not solving how to impose his shots and get some free points against the moving wall on the other side of the net. Like many times before, Nadal was doomed in forehand-to-backhand exchanges that Novak could endure the whole day long without losing pace or momentum.
Novak Djokovic bested Rafael Nadal in the 2019 Australian Open final.
Nadal's first serve did not exist, winning miserable 51% of the points after landing it and suffering five breaks from eight opportunities offered to Novak.
The Serb was on another level in the serving department, dropping 13 points behind the initial shot and facing only one break chance he successfully defended. Novak had 34 winners and jaw-dropping nine unforced errors, dominating from every inch of the court and leaving Nadal on a 21-28 ratio, far from enough for at least one decent set.
There were clear signs of disaster for Rafa right from the start, as he won one point in Novak's first seven service games! The Spaniard had no rhythm behind the initial shot either, getting broken at 15 in the encounter's second game and losing five straight games in set number two to find himself 6-3, 6-2 down in no time!
Novak would never waste such a massive advantage while playing on that level, cementing the victory with a double break in set number three for his most dominant triumph over Rafa at Majors. Thus, Djokovic secured the seventh Australian Open crown, moving in front of Roger Federer as the most successful player in Melbourne in the Open era.