Djokovic beats Tsitsipas and equals Nadal with 22 Grand Slams

The Serbian Novak Djokovic (4) defeated the Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas (3) in the final of the Australian Open 6-3, 7-6(4) and 7-6(5) in two hours and 55 minutes and equalized Rafael Nadal with 22 Grand Slam titles.

With the victory, the Balkans stole World No. 1 from Carlos Alcaraz, also a Spaniard, and added his tenth Australian Open, a competition he missed out on last year after the Australian government revoked his visa because he had not been vaccinated against the virus. coronavirus.

It was his 28th consecutive win in the oceanic major, moving away from American Andre Agassi who had a record 26 consecutive wins.

He also tied for third with Nadal and Germany’s Steffi Graff in the men’s and women’s overall standings for most Grand Slam singles titles, led by Australia’s Margaret Court with 24 and followed by America’s Serena Williams with 23 .

Tsitsipas was slow to find his rhythm in the early stages of the clash, while Djokovic used his experience to go into the match with the solidity he showed in his last two wins against Russia’s Andrey Rublev (5) and American Tommy Paul .

The Greek’s serve was not as solvent as the Serb’s, who failed to concede a single break point and scored one of three in his favour, in a first set that fell 6–3 in his favour.

The main difference in the first set was in the effectiveness with firsts: Tsitsipas had 60% of firsts in play, as opposed to 72% for Belgrade.

The tables turned in a second set in which the third seed was more energetic, improved his first save percentage and managed to punish more with his reversed forehand.

The Greek celebrated furiously for the first time in the match, after a complicated service game to establish 2-3 in their favour, and the stands, separated by marked Serbian and Greek sectors, erupted to thank the high level of tennis they showed. goods. to give evidence

Djokovic went through the toughest moments since the start of the final, not adjusting his steps well in the backhand area and falling spectacularly in the seventh game of the second set. The Belgrade player dropped the racket to the ground and looked down at the palm of his hand, in front of a Tsitsipas who, due to his extreme concentration, did not even notice the accident.

The defending champion from Adelaide raised the bar at just the right time, after saving a set point at 4-5, and also finishing the same match with two long exchanges that kept him alive in the set dispute.

The second set was decided in a tiebreaker match that began with a great defense from the rest by Djokovic, which brought an expression of desperation to the face of a Tsitsipas who had remained unmoved until now.

The Belgrade man activated the cruise mode to 4-1, but his only negative note of the set, adjusting the legs on the wrong side, revived a Tsitsipas that recovered the two minibreaks from behind.

It was at this crucial moment that Djokovic’s fortitude triumphed against a Tsitsipas who committed two unforced fouls and one force foul, to give the Balkans the 7–4 tiebreaker.

The Serb managed to score another set despite his level not being up to par, as evidenced by his seven unforced errors with the backhand and 66% of first in games, which they countered with the 72% of the first set.

The match looked set to be a verdict, after the light-hearted fury of an upset Tsitsipas was credited to the bulging scoreboard, but the Greek surprised with a break in the first game of the third set.

His impatience and search for winners from behind the baseline prevented him from confirming his break, and the Serb responded in kind after scoring what was his second break of the match.

Both tennis players focused on the serve and continued, without betting on long substitutions, until they left the set at 4-4.

The Serb held on for 5-4, with a pristine repertoire that went from great serves to a staggering backhand winner that went from less to more as the game progressed.

Undeterred by his opponent’s fabulous shots, the 24-year-old kept his cool at 30-30 5-4 to tie the score in a third set that would also be decided in the tiebreak.

In the same way it happened in the tie-break of the second, Djokovic’s seniority overcame a Tsitsipas who allowed unforgivable unforced errors that resulted in an impressive 4-0.

A fan gave Tsitsipas some air after he screamed just before the Serb pulled off a slice backhand that marked the first point of a tiebreaker game that looked set for penalty.

Not wanting to end a convincing tour of Australia, Tsitsipas did not give up and closed the gap until he completed his two serves to exit the game at 6-5.

Rod Laver, who was close to a packed house, kept a stony silence as he watched his great champion, Novak Djokovic, close out his tenth Australian Open after opening the field with an angled cross to the right that sent his rival missing.

One of the big differences between the Greek and the Balkans was the great defensive ability of an elastic Djokovic, who forced his rival to execute two or three winning shots to close the point.

Despite his youth, the Hellenic tennis player, stiffer than the 35-year-old Serbian, didn’t force his rival to hit more than one winner to end the rally, due to his lesser defensive ability.

His furious blows, which stunned the audience at Rod Laver, were not enough to embarrass the intelligence and varied proposal of the Balkan master.

He could not be accompanied by his father Srdjan Djokovic on his big night after both made the decision following the video of him appearing with supporters of Russian leader Vladimir Putin near Melbourne Park after his quarter-final victory. against the Russian rulev.

It was the first game since the start of the competition in which the Serb was not wearing the bandage to protect his left thigh from the ailment he suffered in the second and third rounds.

On his way to the title, the Serbian defeated Spaniard Roberto Carballés, Frenchman Enzo Couacaud, Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov (27), Australian Alex De Miñaur (22), Russian Andrey Rublev (5) and American Tommy Paul.

Source: El heraldo