GOOD morning and welcome to our live game by game coverage of Andy Murray v Novak Djokovic in the Australian Open men’s final from the Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne.
12.26pm: NOVAK DJOKOVIC WINS THE AUSTRALIAN OPEN. 6-7 | 7-6 | 3-6 | 2-6
Even the breaks are going Djokovic’s way. After two excellent points by Murray, Djokovic smashes the ball onto the net cord and it just flops over - again he acknowledges his luck. As Murray grimaces in pain and clutches his hamstring, he hits the ball into the net to give Djokovic championship point. A tired-looking shot from Murray finds the net and Djokovic is champion.
It started well for Murray but Djokovic played much the better tennis from the middle of the second set on, getting to the net more often and making those chances count. The Scot will reflect ruefully on the missed opportunity to break Djokovic’s serve early in that second set, but will take some heart from the fact he at least made it to the final, beating Roger Federer on the way.
Thanks for being with us this morning.
12.19pm: 7-6 | 6-7 | 3-6 | 2-5 MURRAY
Despite a wondrous drop shot and a clean forehand winner to take the third point and fifth points. Djokovic also makes errors and Murray holds his serve. Djokovic will now serve for the match .
12.16pm: 7-6 | 6-7 | 3-6 | 1-5 DJOKOVIC
The writing is surely on the wall for this final as Djokovic comes out bristling with intent and two service breaks to the good. But suddenly Murray ups his game and goes 0-30 up, only for Djokovic to respond with superb shot-making to notch four points on the trot and take the game. Murray will serve to stay in the final.
12.10pm: 7-6 | 6-7 | 3-6 | 1-4 DJOKOVIC
Djokovic goes 0-30 up but twice goes long on his forehand, but Murray battles back to take the game to deuce. After a strange incident when the ball flies out of Murray’s pocket, causing a let to be played, Djokovic plays a magnificent lob right on to the baseline and Murray then double faults to hand Djokovic a second break of serve in the set.
12.03pm: 7-6 | 6-7 | 3-6 | 1-3 DJOKOVIC
A net cord on a drop shot gives Djokovic a lucky point, which he acknlowedges to his opponent. Murray gets back to 30-30 but you get the feeling that Djokovic is in control here and he takes the next two points to hold his serve.
11.59am: 7-6 | 6-7 | 3-6 | 1-2 DJOKOVIC
Another double fault makes it 15-30, and Djokovic then sends Murray all over the place to earn two break points. He takes the second of them after a long rally, and suddenly Djokovic is looking like the winner.
11.54am: 7-6 | 6-7 | 3-6 | 1-1 DJOKOVIC
Murray looks to have a glimmer of a chance at 0-30, but goes long twice, wasting another challenge on the second. But then Djokovic goes wide on his forehand to give Murray a break point. The world No 1 steps up a gear, however, and closes out the game with three points in a row.
11.48am: 7-6 | 6-7 | 3-6 | 1-0 MURRAY
It has been a war of attrition throughout, and as we move into a fourth hour, Murray now looks as if he wants to be the one closing out the long rallies earlier. A superb forehand winner lands on the back of the baseline for 30-30, Djokovic wasting a challenge. Murray then produces one of the shots of the night, a wonderfully-controlled half volley to bring him the advantage that he seizes.
11.43am: 7-6, 6-7, 3-6 DJOKOVIC - NOVAK DJOKOVIC WINS THE THIRD SET
Another failed challenge by Murray features as Djokovic strolls through the game, holding to love to take the third set. Murray definitely hit a flat spot late in the set and must now rally himself if he is take this to five sets.
11.38am: 7-6 | 6-7 | 3-5 DJOKOVIC
The game opens with the longest rally of the match, 36 shots of real quality that ends with a brilliant Djokovic forehand winner right into the corner. He then follows up to go to 0-40 and gain the first break points of the set. Murray storms back to 30-40 but gets distracted again, and his weak second serve sets up Djokovic to earn the first break of serve in the Final. He will now serve for the set.
11.31am: 7-6 | 6-7 | 3-4 DJOKOVIC
This time it’s Djokovic who just keeps the ball going back at Murray, including one huge lob that seems to fox the Scot. The reigning champion holds and it’s already looking like another tie-break.
11.26am: 7-6 | 6-7 | 3-3 MURRAY
Murray’s first serve is a major weapon for him, and three in a row take him to 40-0 before his second serve is punished by Djokovic. A final first serve goes in and Murray wins to 30.
11.23am: 7-7 | 6-7 | 2-3 DJOKOVIC
A Djokovic slip hands Murray the third point, but the champion is not to be denied and wins the game as Murray twice goes long on his forehand.
11.20am: 7-6 | 6-7 | 2-2 MURRAY
Just what Murray needed, a service game to love. There’s no such thing as an easy game between these two, but that was almost relaxing for Murray.
11.16am: 7-6 | 6-7 | 2-1 DJOKOVIC
This is fast becoming a slugfest of a match between two power-packed players. Well into the third hour, the question appears to be who will last the better?
Djokovic holds to 15 and looks ominously comfortable in doing so.
11.13am: 7-6 | 6-7 | 1-1 MURRAY
With both men battling for every point, Murray holds to 30 and thankfully appears to be moving well enough despite the new bandage on his right foot.
11.09am: 7-6 | 6-7 | 0-1 DJOKOVIC
Murray may yet really regret missing the chance to break the Djokovic serve early in that second set. He calls a medical timeout for treatment to an angry looking blister on his right foot, and after the break, he doesn’t seem too affected. Neither is Djokovic, who bangs in a couple of aces as he holds to 15.
11.00am: SECOND SET TO DJOKOVIC - WINS TIE-BREAK 7-3
The tie break goes with serve until the fifth point when a floating feather distracts Murray and after he clears it away, he serves a double fault. Djokovic then does ‘a Murray’ on the Scot, sending back every ball until Murray hits into the net. Two mini-breaks to the Serb, but Murray gets one back to make it 5-3, before a long rally ends with Murray finding the net. Three set points to Djokovic and he only needs one.
10.50am: 7-6 | 6-6 DJOKOVIC
A double fault brings it to 30-30, before another belligerent Djokovic smash sets up the game point which he takes gleefully to serve up the tie break.
10.45am: 7-6 | 6-5 MURRAY
A seventh ace wins the third point of the game, and Djokovic looks rattled as he makes a couple of errors to hand the game to Murray. The Serb must serve to save the set.
10.41am: 7-6 | 5-5 DJOKOVIC
Could we be heading for a second tie-break? Djokovic serves to save the set and his determination shows as he mixes up smashes and baseline play to take the game to 15.
10.39am: 7-6 | 5-4 MURRAY
Murray races to 40-0 and then double faults again. In the old days such an error might have flustered Murray, but the Scot is now a Grand Slam winner and he makes no mistake as he forces Djokovic into another error - his return going long will be classed as unforced, but the pressure Murray is putting on the reigning champion is really telling.
10.35am: 7-6 | 4-4 DJOKOVIC
Superb play by Djokovic on the third point sees his volley land on the line, Murray’s challenge called in vain. The Serb closes out the game to 15 but Murray looks really pumped up as the climax of the set approaches.
10.30am: 7-6 | 4-3 MURRAY
Murray races to 40-0 before recording his first double fault of the match. Djokovic again goes too long, and the game is comfortably held.
10.27am: 7-6 | 3-3 DJOKOVIC
There really is not a lot between these two champions, but up to now Murray has been on top because he has got his tactics right, defending brilliantly like a counterpuncher in boxing - a sport Murray loves. Djokovic is far too forceful for him in this game, however, a couple of overhead smashes featuring as he holds to 15.
10.24am: 7-6 | 3-2 MURRAY
On the third point, Djokovic goes long but Murray sends the ball back anyway, only for the Serb to show he’s a nifty footballer with a volley into the stands. Murray swiftly wraps up the game, closing it out to 15 with an ace.
10.19am: 7-6 | 2-2 DJOKOVIC
Djokovic records two aces as he races to 40-15, but Murray is doggedly contesting every point and brings it back to deuce. The world No 1 steadies the ship, however, and takes the game with the next two points.
10.13am: 7-6 | 2-1 MURRAY
Djokovic battles back to 30-30 but Murray hits a startling ace and then closes out the game. Murray is on top and asking the champion questions he may not have the answers to.
10.10am: 7-6 | 1-1 DJOKOVIC
Djokovic has not looked comfortable in the long baseline rallies on which Murray is thriving. He tries to conclude these rallies early and fails as Murray just keeps on batting the ball back. In no time, Murray gets three break points, but Djokovic shows all his legendary recovery powers to save all three before an audacious forehand down the line gives the Serb advantage. But another wayward shot by Djokovic brings it back to deuce, before Murray just runs out of room on the final point. That’s a huge opportunity missed by Murray, no question.
10.00am: 7-6 | 1-0 MURRAY
The Scot is now in blistering form, his shot-making almost metronomic as Djokovic makes three errors before Murray hammers down an ace to take the game to love.
9.55am: FIRST SET TO ANDY MURRAY - WINS TIE BREAK 7-2
A double fault gives Murray a mini-break, and he capitalises with brilliant groundstroke play to go 3-0 up. The umpire reviews a long Djokovic forehand and the ball is out - kudos to the line judge. Murray challenges on the next, but the champion’s smash is on the line and it’s 4-1. Murray holds his serves to bring up five break points and he only needs two as Djokovic goes long on the ninth point.
First blood to Murray after 68 enthralling minutes. Is it an omen that he won the US Open final against Djokovic after taking the first set on a tie break?
9.45am: 6-6 MURRAY
First sign of grief from Djokovic as he finds the net with what should have been an easy shot. Murray then does the same, so it’s dishonours even. Both players are showing the tension at the business end of the set, the champion’s face a picture when his backhand hits the net cord and falls back on his side. Murray closes out the game to bring up the tie-break.
9.41am: 5-6 DJOKOVIC
A fairly straightforward hold of serve for the champion, taking the game with only one point conceded. Murray must serve to save the set again.
9.38am: 5-5 MURRAY
Both players are fully into their rhythm but Djokovic continues to make unforced errors, while Murray is content to keep the ball going back over the net, time after time. He holds to 15.
9.34am: 4-5 DJOKOVIC
On the first point, Murray tries a drop shot off a net cord with Djokovic stranded, only for the ball to fall on the wrong side of the net. Murray gets back to 30-40, but Djokovic finishes the game with an ace. Murray must serve to save the first set.
9.29am: 4-4 MURRAY
A rare loose effort from Murray brings up 15-30, and then Djokovic stops the rally on 30-30 and challenges a Murray cross court shot that’s been called in. The Serb is right by a millimetre and gains another break point, his fifth of the set. Murray steps up a gear, however, and takes the next three points to close out the game.
9.21am: 3-4 DJOKOVIC
A fantastic third point features Djokovic falling but still being able to get up and return what looked a sure winner from Murray. The champion smiles broadly and the adrenaline surge fires him to close out the game.
9.14am: 3-3 MURRAY
Djokovic finally wins a point against the Murray serve with a stunning cross court shot, and then makes it two in a row to bring up 0-30. Murray hits the quickest serve of the final at 130mph, only for Djokovic to swat it back. Murray wins the pont, however, but goes long on the next and suddenly Djokovic has two break points - the first of the final. Murray saves them both, and it’s noticeable that his second serve has hugely improved. Djokovic’s eye is now in and he closes out a 24 shot rally with a pinpoint long forehand. Murray save another break point but overhits a forehand to give the champion another chance at a break. A Djokovic backhand lamely finds the net and Murray closes out the game, Djokovic wasting a challenge on the final shot which was clearly in.
9.06am: 2-3 DJOKOVIC
The third point of the match is the longest rally so far, and Murray seems very composed and accurate, while Djokovic goes long. It’s the same story on the next point, another unforced error from Djokovic bringing up 30-30. After a superb forehand makes it 40-30, Djokovic makes another mistake and the first deuce of the final is reached. Djokovic then closes out the game after a point of superb quality play, a backhand winner down the line beating even Murray’s powers of recovery.
8.58am: 2-2 MURRAY
The first drop shot of the final - by Djokovic - fails to clear the net and Murray goes 30-0 up. The Scot then closes out the game with an ace, and records his second hold to love. Good serving from Murray.
8.54am: 1-2 DJOKOVIC
An audacious lob from Murray at 15-15 just goes long, and Djokovic goes swiftly to 40-15 before Murray plays a superb point making his opponent chase the ball. The Serb then closes out the game, Murray’s challenge on the winning shot being a waste as the ball was clearly in.
Just to be clear, the score we post will always be Murray first, Djokovic second, and then the name of the player who served in that game.
8.50am: 1-1 MURRAY
Despite putting three first serves out, Murray holds serve to love, and it is clear that the Scot is happy to trade shots from the back of the court all day, with Djokovic’s eye obviously not yet in as he goes long and wide with his ground strokes.
8.47am: 0-1 DJOKOVIC
Murray won the toss and elected to receive serve. Murray took the first point with a strong forehand off Djokovic’s second service before the champion replied with the first ace of the final and then won the next three points comfortably to take the first game.
8.40am: Murray has won the coin toss. Play should be underway imminently.
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