Rafael Nadal honors Novak Djokovic and his 22nd Major title
by JOVICA ILIC | VIEW 4442
Novak Djokovic matched Rafael Nadal's record after winning his 22nd Major crown. Two great rivals are tied again ahead of Roland Garros, extending their incredible legacy and keeping the young guns behind. Nadal congratulated Novak and his team on his tenth Australian Open and the 22nd Major title, praising his effort.
Djokovic lost only one set in seven encounters in Melbourne, overcoming a hamstring injury and presenting his A-game from the fourth round to leave all the opponents miles behind. Novak injured his left leg in Adelaide and did not look good after the opening three encounters despite a couple of routine sets.
The entire team gave their best to prepare him for the upcoming challenges, and his leg felt much better in the second week. Novak stormed over Alex De Minaur to enter the last eight and gave Andrey Rublev no chance en route to the semi-final.
Never losing in Melbourne after passing the quarter-final stage, Djokovic gained confidence and pushed strong toward his tenth trophy at Rod Laver Arena. The Serb beat Tommy Paul in the semi-final, dominating sets two and three and setting the title clash against Stefanos Tsitsipas.
Djokovic and Tsitsipas showed the most during the event, battling for the title and the ATP throne. Novak delivered a 6-3, 7-6, 7-6 victory in two hours and 56 minutes, using his vast experience and prevailing in the crucial moments.
Novak broke Stefanos twice and lost serve only once in the third set's early stages. The Greek had a set point on the return at 5-4 in the second set, missing it and finishing runner-up for the second time in the Major finals.
Novak fired 36 winners and 22 unforced errors. The Serb earned his victory in the mid-range rallies with five to eight strokes, staying focused for the entire match and extending his incredible run in Australia.
Rafael Nadal congratulated Novak Djokovic on his 22nd Major title.
A nine-time champion made a convincing start, serving well in the opener and keeping the pressure on the other side.
Tsitsipas defended two break points in the second game to avoid an early setback before hitting a double fault at 1-2 to find himself behind. Djokovic brought the set home with a booming serve in game nine for a 6-3 lead after 36 minutes.
Stefanos produced six comfortable holds in the second set and created a set point on the return at 5-4. Novak denied it with a forehand down the line winner, and the set went into a tie break. Djokovic forged a 4-1 advantage before Tsitsipas climbed back to 4-4.
The Greek missed an easy forehand in the ninth point and placed a backhand long in the next one to offer the Serb two set points. Novak fired a service winner to wrap up the breaker 7-4 and build a massive advantage after an hour and 46 minutes.
Djokovic took a bathroom break ahead of the third set and lost his focus momentarily. Tsitsipas broke him in the first game before losing serve a few minutes later. They served well in the upcoming games, and the Greek had no room for errors at 4-5.
He landed two winners at 30-30 and introduced another tie break with a fine hold at 5-6. Novak grabbed two early mini-breaks and raced into a 5-0 lead, using his experience and the advantage from the previous sets. The Serb lost the following three points before creating three match points with a forehand down the line winner at 5-3.
Stefanos denied the first two with brave hitting and reduced the deficit to 6-5. Novak sealed the deal on his third match point to emerge at the top and write history.