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Tennis: Djokovic beats Murray for 3rd straight Australian Open title

MELBOURNE, Australia – Novak Djokovic became the first player in the professional era to win three straight Australian Open titles with his defeat of Andy Murray 6-7 (2-7), 7-6 (7-3), 6-3, 6-2 on Sunday to run his Grand Slam title total to six.

Four of those have come at Melbourne Park, his favorite venue.

Djokovic, who will retain his No. 1 ranking, got his third victory in a row against his rival after losing the U.S. Open final to the Scot 4 months ago when Murray bagged his first Grand Slam title.

“Winning three in a row, it’s a huge achievement,” said Djokovic. “I’m always motivated in every match.

“But of course Grand Slam finals are always bringing something new, something special to every player, and that’s where you want to perform your best.”

It took almost 3 hours for the first break of serve between the two after 34 straight holds, with Djokovic going up 5-3 in the third set.

He then reeled off five straight games from 1-0 down to 5-1 in the fourth, and wrapped up the championship two games later when Murray netted a groundstroke.

Murray, who by the end was bothered by bloody blisters on a big toe and twinges in a left hamstring, paid his respects to Djokovic.

“I must congratulate Novak, his record here is incredible. Very few have done what he did here. He’s a well-deserved champion,” Murray said.

But the Scot did say he could not be overly discouraged after his run of superb form since last summer.

“The last few months have been the best tennis of my life. I made the Wimbledon final, won the Olympics, won the U.S. Open. I was close here as well,” Murray said.

“I know no one’s ever won a slam, the immediate one after winning their first one. It’s not the easiest thing to do. And I got extremely close.

“I have to try and look at the positives of the last few months, and I think I’m going the right direction.”

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