Novak Djokovic retained his title as he won his third Australian Open after an epic five set match against Rafael Nadal. The match lasted six hours, including a short rain delay. Djokovic had looked likely to win much earlier but Nadal came back from a break down to win the fourth set in a tie-break. Djokovic had appeared stiff in the early part of the match which wasn’t surprising as he had played a five-hour semi-final against Andy Murray only two days earlier, coming from two sets to one down to win. Nadal on the other hand had a relatively easy match against Roger Federer in his semi-final. The big four in the men’s tournament had always looked likely to be the semi-finalists and had little trouble in making it through to that stage. This was Djokovic’s third successive Grand Slam after winning Wimbledon and the US Open in 2011.
The women’s event saw a new name to add to the list of Grand Slam winners as Victoria Azarenka demolished Maria Sharapova with some powerful hitting. In her first Grand Slam final Azarenka had started nervously and was broken in her first service game. She was in danger of being broken again when she went on a run of ten successive winning points and never looked back. Azarenka had finally achieved the breakthrough that she had first hinted at in this tournament a few years ago when as a teenager she was a set up against Serena Williams before retiring due to the heat. The semi-finals had seen two close encounters with Azarenka and Sharapova coming through against Kim Clijsters and Petra Kvitova respectively. Serena Williams suffered a shock defeat to Russia’s Ekaterina Makarova in the last 16. Azarenka became the new world number one, taking over from Caroline Wozniacki who once again failed to come close to winning a major.
The much-vaunted British revival didn’t materialise. Five players made the main draw of the singles tournaments along with Andy Murray . All five lost on the first day without winning a set between them.
Men’s singles: Novak Djokovic (Serbia) beat Rafael Nadal (Spain) 5-7 6-4 6-2 6-7 7-5
Women’s singles: Victoria Azarenka (Belarus) beat Maria Sharapova (Russia) 6-3 6-0
Men’s Doubles: Leander Paes (Ind) and Radek Stepanek (Cz)
Women’s Doubles: Svetlana Kuznetsova and Vera Zvonereva (Rus)
Mixed Doubles: Bethanie Mattek-Sands (US) and Horia Tecau (Rom)