Djokovic joins the greats with 6th Aussie title

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Novak Djokovic has won the Australian Open for a record sixth time, running listless world No. 2 Andy Murray ragged in a one-sided and unsurprising final.

Novak Djokovic of Serbia poses with the trophy after winning the final of men's singles against Andy Murray of Great Britain at the Australian Open Tennis Championships in Melbourne, Australia, Jan. 31, 2016. Novak Djokovic won the match 6-1, 7-5, 7-6. (Xinhua/Bi Mingming) 

Vying to equal Australian great Roy Emerson as the Open's most prolific winner, Djokovic mopped the floor with Murray to win 6-1, 7-5, 7-6 (3) in three hours and 13 minutes.

The win showed the huge gulf in class between the world's best player and his nearest comer, and consigned Murray to a fifth-straight loss - all at the hands of the indomitable Serbian - in an Australian Open final.

It also elevated Djokovic up another rung of the game's greats, joining Rod Laver and Bjorn Borg with 11 Grand Slam single's titles. At 28-years-old, only Roger Federer (17 titles), Pete Sampras (14), Rafael Nadal (14) and Emerson (12) lie ahead of him in terms of major crowns.

"I'm extremely honored to be mentioned alongside legends of our sport," Djokovic said in the post-match ceremony, whilst paying homage to Australians Laver and Emerson. "It's a great privilege to equal ... the record of six Australian Opens."

The world No. 1 was hardly at his best, but didn't have to be with his British opponent, by his own admittance, well below par.

After meekly giving away his second break of the opening set to fall 0-4 down, the dual Slam champion looked to his coach Amelie Mauresmo and yelled: "This is the worst match I've ever played."

Murray, a mere 48 hours after his exhausting semi-final win over injured Canadian Milos Raonic, could only muster a half challenge in the two following sets, with 65 unforced errors - many at crucial moments - cruelling any chance of a comeback.

The closest the Glaswegian came to pinching a set came in the third-set tiebreak, before a brain explosion consisting of a malaise of double faults and wayward groundstrokes saw his opportunity to extend the match snuffed out.

The heavy defeat leaves Murray, expecting his first child in the coming days, as the only player ever to lose five finals at any Grand Slam without collecting the crown at least once.

In a case of self-inflicted deja vu, Murray had to settle for the runners-up plate at Melbourne Park once again, confessing he made a meal of his chances to get back into the match.

"He won 25 more points than me and I had 25 more unforced errors," Murray told press on Sunday night before hurriedly jetting out of the country.

"I was starting to have a lot of opportunities at the end of the second (set)."

"In the third I felt towards the end of the set that I was creating a few chances and then obviously in the tiebreak I missed two seconds serves by a little bit."

"He hit an ace and that was it."

Last night, Murray opted for an unusual lead-in by staying up well past his bedtime to watch brother Jamie capture the doubles title with Bruno Soares.

But given he had had no luck in their four previous Open final meetings, perhaps the Scot felt a change in preparation was a risk worth taking.

If so, the risk did not pay off.

Except for a slight stumble in the first game, the world No. 1 blitzed by the sleepy Scot to open proceedings.

Facing break point in his opening service game, Djokovic ripped a sensational backhand winner crosscourt much to the chagrin of Murray.

From then on, Djokovic's dominance over the Murray, who has only beaten the Serbian once in 11 attempts since the 2013 Wimbledon final, showed.

After letting that chance slip, a tense Murray double faulted to gift the Djokovic some breathing room in the first set.

Tellingly, his nerves were still jangling on his next service game as Djokovic broke to 15 again.

It looked like the first set would come and past before Murray was able to get on the board, but the Brit bounced back in his third service game to stave off the dreaded donut.

However, Murray's framed balls, dreadful serving and noticeable lack of poise amounted to a first-set shellacking which lasted exactly half an hour.

After settling himself by holding serve to start the second, Murray's next service game felt as if it would determine his entire fortunes. Four break points, a time violation and humorous heckler (who told him to "take his time") later, Murray was able to serve his way out of trouble to go 2-1 ahead despite all odds.

Every time Murray was able to out-rally the Serbian superstar, it had an air of Murray winning the battle but Djokovic winning the war.

For the fiery Scot, who was mentally shot in last year's four-set loss in the final, it was as much a match of Murray versus Murray.

The only time Murray looked imposing was when he moved forward and attacked Djokovic's vulnerable second serve. But those moments were few and far between.

With the neutral spectators gunning to see their money's worth, Murray mounted his most compelling challenge to Djokovic's serve since the first game of the match to take him to deuce. But, again, the break proved elusive.

Another double fault and a glut of unforced errors lead to Murray's downfall in the subsequent game, as Djokovic pressed on in search of a two-set cushion.

Finally, Murray responded unleashing a brutal backhand winner past Djokovic to get the elusive break, and in the process almost lifted the roof off Rod Laver Arena.

It was hard to tell who had a bigger following in the crowd - but Djokovic devotees certainly had more to cheer about.

Djokovic looked like he would have to settle for a tiebreaker with Murray 40-0 up at 5-all, but he won the next five points - including a 36-shot rally - to grab another opportunistic break.

Remarkably, two double faults from Djokovic gave Murray the chance to force the breaker after all. But Djokovic pulled out a vintage first serve - which Murray suspected may have been long, complaining to the chair umpire - to get out of trouble before carving out the next two points to clinch the set.

Djokovic had only been beaten once in his career after going two sets ahead, and Murray did not increase the likelihood of a five-set fightback after dropping serve for the fifth time to open up the third.

But just as Djokovic could touch the finish line, Murray postponed the post-match ceremony waiting in the wings by levelling at 3-all.

The pair needed a tiebreaker to split them.

But, in keeping with the night's theme, Murray lost it more than Djokovic won it. The downtrodden Brit fell well behind in the count, before Djokovic landed the knockout blow with an ace down the tee to put Murray out of his misery.

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