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Djokovic crushes Murray in Australian final

Andy Murray learned that winning one Grand Slam tournament does not necessarily open the floodgates to further success. Outplayed by Novak Djokovic in the Australian Open final in Melbourne, Murray eventually lost in four sets after starting promisingly by taking the first set.

World number one Djokovic is formidable on the Melbourne surface. This was his fourth Australian Open triumph, his third in succession and restored his superiority over Murray after that US Open blip.

After losing the first set on a tie-break, despite playing better than the Scot, Djokovic seemed briefly rattled. Murray had three break points on Djokovic’s serve early in the second set. When the Serb salvaged that game it was the turning point in the match. Djokovic shifted up a gear and Murray was unable to stay with him.

Some of Murray’s old mental fragility seemed to return. He was put off by a falling feather during the tie-break and raged at the umpire for no obvious reason after losing the third set. He was more gracious after the match. "Novak's a very well deserved champion," he said, "well done. His team have done a great job."

Djokovic acknowledged that Murray may be his closest rival in the immediate future. "I have to congratulate Andy for a great two weeks," he said. "We've played many thrilling matches and hopefully we will have many, many more." He also admitted his fondness for Melbourne. "It's definitely my favourite grand slam, my most successful grand slam. I love this court."

The next grand slam is the French Open at Roland Garros, traditionally Rafael Nadal’s strongest tournament. With the Spanish star’s future uncertain after his knee injury and Roger Federer fading, it is likely to end in another showdown between Murray and Djokovic. For now, the Serb holds the psychological edge.

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