ISTANBUL – Novak Djokovic defeated Stefanos Tsitsipas in straight sets to clinch a record-extending 10th Australian Open title on Sunday.
The Serbian powered his way to a 6-3, 7-6, 7-6 victory at the Rod Laver Arena in just under three hours to equal Rafael Nadal men’s record of 22 Grand Slam crowns.
Djokovic’s latest success in Melbourne also catapults him from No. 5 to No. 1 in the ATP rankings.
Tsitsipas, 24, heaped praise on Djokovic for his incredible career, saying: “He’s the greatest that’s ever held a tennis racket.”
Djokovic thanked his young Greek challenger “for being so kind and respectful.”
“I would say that this is the biggest victory in my life considering the circumstances,” the Serbian said, a reference to his expulsion from last year’s Australian Open for refusing to get a Covid-19 vaccine shot.
Along with the glory and a triumphant return back to the top of tennis, Djokovic will leave Australia with USD2.1 million in prize money.
In the women’s final, Aryna Sabalenka came back from a set down to beat Elena Rybakina in a thrilling final match and won her first Grand Slam singles title.
Kazakhstan’s Rybakina won the first set 6-4 and looked on course to add to her Wimbledon title.
The 24-year-old Sabalenka fought back in the second set, firing 21 winners to take it 6-3 and force the game into a decider.
A gripping finale unfolded at Melbourne’s Rod Laver Arena as Sabalenka went up 5-3 after breaking Rybakina’s serve in the seventh game.
Rybakina took the next game but the fifth seed Sabalenka held her nerve to clinch the set 6-4.
Sabalenka was competing under a neutral flag because of Belarus’ support for Russia’s war on Ukraine. (Anadolu)