Novak Djokovic defeats Daniil Medvedev in Australian Open final and wins his 18th Grand Slam | CNN

Novak Djokovic wins his ninth Australian Open and accumulates 18 Grand Slam 0: 59

(CNN) – Novak Djokovic delivered a power and precision masterclass and beat Daniil Medvedev in the Australian Open final. The Serbian tennis player won his 18th Grand Slam title.

The match had all the hallmarks of a classic, particularly after an impressive first set from both players. But the world number one soon put his foot down and raced to a 7-5 6-2 6-2 victory in less than two hours.

The victory secures a ninth Australian Open title that extends the record of Djokovic, who now He's just two grand slams away from the all-time record held by Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer with 20 titles each

Based on today's performance, there are very few bets against him that he will one day equal, or even surpass, that mark

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Novak Djokovic defeats Daniil Medvedev in Australian Open final and wins his 18th Grand Slam | CNN

advertising No off-court rivalry

While the match itself perhaps ended as anticlimactic, subsequent interviews They were anything but that to the game and showed the deep respect and admiration these two players have for each other.

"Just to tell you a little story, guys," Medvedev said. “I first practiced with Novak when I was 500 or 600 (in world rankings) in Monaco and he was already number one in the world and had just won Wimbledon. I thought, 'Okay, he's not going to talk to me' or something like that, because he was a god to me.

«I came there and since I was shy I didn't speak, so he asked me questions, he spoke to me as a friend. I was very surprised and never changed since I was ranked 600 in the world. You are a great athlete and a great person, so congratulations. ”

Djokovic replied:“ I would like to return the nice words to Daniil. First of all, it was an outstanding presentation. You're a great guy, a great person… We used to spend more time together, we used to practice more in Monaco, and you haven't called me in the last few years! But it's good to see that you're thinking well of me, thank you very much.

«I really like Daniil as a person off the pitch. He's great, always very friendly, very outgoing, but on the court he is definitely one of the toughest players I have ever faced in my life. It's a matter of time before you celebrate a grand slam that's for sure… but if you don't mind waiting a few more years. ”

No Changing of the Guard

This was a fascinating showdown between intergenerational talents: Djokovic, 33, represents the old guard conqueror of tennis; Medvedev, 25, represents the up-and-coming stars hoping to dethrone the Serb and his peers.

Based on Sunday's final, that day still seems a long way off.

Entering the game, Medvedev had reason to be confident. The world No. 4 was on a 20-game winning streak and is only the sixth active player to accomplish the feat, joining Djokovic, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray and Juan Martín del Potro.

But Djokovic has looked imperious since the beginning, breaking Medvedev in his first service game and defending himself twice with ease to rush to a 3-0 lead. However, playing in just his second Grand Slam final compared to Djokovic's 28th final, Medvedev's initial nerves soon dissipated and he quickly adjusted to his pace

The turning point in the early stages came when The pair exchanged an impressive 28-shot rally, with Djokovic taking his last shot deep into the net to gift the Russian break point. Medvedev duly capitalized on an impressive defensive play to force Djokovic to make another mistake and the first set was soon tied

Just a few minutes earlier, it felt like the Serb was off on the run with the first set, but suddenly Medvedev was driven

The pair went head to head until Medvedev served to stay on set at 5-6. As he usually does at crucial moments, Djokovic went one step further, finding extra length and power in his returns to break his opponent's serve and close out a very close first set.

This was the eighth meeting between these two great players. Djokovic beat the head to head 4-3, and had all the ingredients to be his best match to date.

However, after Medvedev seemed to recover well from that initial disappointment by breaking Djokovic in the first game of the second set, he soon collapsed and in the blink of an eye he was two sets down

There seemed to be very little to No 4 could do to prevent the attack, and Medvedev's racket took the brunt of his frustration when he smashed it against the floor of Rod Laver's arena.

While Medvedev undoubtedly has the talent to compete with Djokovic ( in fact, an impressive drop shot in the third set drew applause even from his opponent), the experience and mental stamina needed in times of adversity in the Grand Slam finals still seems to be lacking.

To Medvedev's credit, he was eager to get stronger and answering some impressive blows from Djokovic as the Serb tried to close out the match

However, the world No. 1 showed he was still one level above his opponent of Sunday and shut down any belated hopes that Medvedev might have won with a flurry of impressive punches.

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