Djokovic Edges Nadal in Epic Aussie Open

Duo duke it out for 6 hours in Melbourne
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jan 29, 2012 9:01 AM CST
Djokovic Edges Nadal in Epic Aussie Open
Rafael Nadal of Spain makes a backhand return to Novak Djokovic of Serbia during their men's singles final at the Australian Open tennis championship, in Melbourne, Australia, Sunday, Jan. 29, 2012.    (Aaron Favila)

Novak Djokovic wore down Rafael Nadal in the longest Grand Slam singles final in the history of professional tennis today, winning 5-7, 6-4, 6-2, 6-7 (5), 7-5 after five hours, 53 minutes to claim his third Australian Open title. Djokovic sealed victory at 1:37am local time and became the fifth man since the Open Era began in 1968 to win three straight Grand Slam finals. The 24-year-old Djokovic tore off his shirt in celebration after one of the most dramatic finals in the history of the game. He went to his support camp and repeatedly thumped the side of the arena in delight and relief.

Djokovic's win mantained his mastery of Nadal, who has lost seven straight finals against the Serb since March last year. After coming from 5-3 down to win the fourth-set tiebreaker, Nadal was up a break at 4-2 in the fifth set against Djokovic, who seemed to be tiring. But the No. 1-ranked Djokovic responded, breaking for a 6-5 lead and saved a break point before finally claiming the win. The previous longest major singles final was Mats Wilander's win over Ivan Lendl at the US Open in 1988, which lasted four hours, 54 minutes. (Read more Australian Open stories.)

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