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Djokovic secures Australian Open in epic final

It took six hours, but eventually Novak Djokovic wore down the resistance of Rafael Nadal to claim the Australian Open final. in what he called his "greatest match". It was the Serb’s second five set epic in three days, but his reserves of stamina proved sufficient to secure another grand slam.

The final pitted Djokovic’s flat, precise hitting against Nadal’s extravagant spin, and the players were evenly matched throughout a tense battle, even though Nadal had faced Djokovic six times in 2011 and lost every time.

An 82 minute first set established the attritional tone of the match, with Nadal edging it 7-5. Djokovic defied suggestions that he was exhausted after his epic semi-final against Andy Murray by fighting back to take the second set, and assert his dominance again in the third.

Nadal countered with a courageous fightback in the fourth. By then the match had long passed midnight in Melbourne. The match twisted and turned, but Djokovic had the resilience to hold on. Even serving for the match though, the Serb had to survive a break point.

The mutual respect between the players was expressed in Djokovic’s heartfelt comments: "Rafa, you are one of the best players ever, one of the most respected on the Tour. We made history tonight. Unfortunately there couldn't be two winners. I hope we will have many more matches like this, many more finals."

Nadal demonstrated that he was back to close to his best form, but Djokovic showed that, when it comes to strength and tenacity, he is the best in the world.

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