Novak Djokovic destroys Daniil Medvedev to win Australian Open

Serbian victorious in straight sets to seal record-extending ninth title at Melbourne Park

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Novak Djokovic clinched a record-extending ninth Australian Open title after thrashing Daniil Medvedev 7-5, 6-2, 6-2 at Melbourne Park on Sunday.

The Serbian world No 1 produced a superlative display to secure an 18th Grand Slam against a player who had won his previous 20 matches.

In front of 7,400 fans at Rod Laver Arena, Djokovic moved to within two of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal's record of 20 Slams, while denying the Russian his first.

Much like Dominic Thiem in last year's final, Djokovic faced an opponent desperate for success and his own seat at the Grand Slam table.

Unlike Thiem, who pushed Djokovic to five sets, Medvedev never really threatened.

Djokovic made a mockery of the Russian's winning streak and his pre-match barb that all the pressure to win was on the champion.

He broke him seven times for the match and closed out the one-sided contest with a net-rush and a brilliant leaping volley.

Having extended his unbeaten record in nine finals at Melbourne Park, Djokovic roared in triumph and wrapped up his team in a group hug. He now has won six Grand Slam titles after the age of 30, equalling Nadal's record.

It was a far from straightforward run to the final, with Djokovic dropping five sets en-route to the final and battling an abdominal injury that nearly forced him to pull out after the third round.

Despite admitting it was a gamble to keep playing, with a risk the injury could get worse and affect the rest of his season, the 33-year-old chose to continue and it paid off.

"It has been a rollercoaster week for me," said Djokovic on court after the match. "There are a lot of mixed feeling about what has happened in the last month or so with tennis players coming to Australia but I think when we draw a line at the end it was a successful tournament.

"It wasn't easy but I think they should be proud of themselves for what they have put together and allowed us to come here.

"Rod Laver Arena, I love you each year more and more. The love affair keeps going. Thank you so much."

In front of a pro-Djokovic crowd, Medvedev overcooked two forehands on his opening service game then sent one into the net to hand the Serb the first break points, then a wild backhand saw him immediately on the back foot.

Djokovic consolidated with a serve to love before the Russian finally got off the mark with a wobbly hold for 1-3. But then a failed drop shot and net volley from the top seed allowed the Russian to break back.

Long rallies ensued and it went with serve until some brilliant groundstrokes from Djokovic earned three break points at 6-5. Medvedev saved two but not the third to lose the opening set.

Undeterred, the tall, pencil-thin Russian kept coming and dialed up the pressure to break Djokovic's opening serve in set two, only for the Serb to immediately strike back.

Djokovic won three games in a row, despite the disruption of two fans being ejected in an apparent refugee protest, as he took control.

He raced to a 5-2 lead with Medvedev smashing his racquet in frustration as the set and the championship began slipping away.

Deflated, Medvedev dropped his opening serve in set three and never looked like finding a way back as Djokovic, in his 28th Grand Slam final compared to the Russian's second, drew on his experience to close out the match, dropping to the court in celebration.

"Never easy to speak when you just lost a Grand Slam final, but I'll do my best," said Medvedev, 25, after the match.

"Congrats to Novak. Nine Slams in Australia is amazing and this won't be your last one. Just to tell you a small story, I first met Novak when I was 500 or 600 in the world. I thought OK, he's not going to speak to me, because he was world No 1.

"I was really shy. He was talking to me like I was a friend. He's never changed – he's always been a great sport and a great friend."

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