Jan. 30 (Bloomberg) -- Novak Djokovic defeated Rafael Nadal in a five-set, five-hour final to take his third Australian Open title and become the fifth man to win three straight Grand Slam championships since tennis went professional 44 years ago.
Top-ranked Djokovic of Serbia won 5-7, 6-4, 6-2, 6-7 (5-7), 7-5 at Melbourne Park’s Rod Laver Arena to hand Nadal his third straight loss in a major final. Djokovic also beat the Spaniard at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open last year.
The five-hour, 53-minute match, which ended at 1:37 a.m. local time, was the longest Grand Slam final since at least the start of tennis’ professional era in 1968. The previous longest was a 4:54 match between Ivan Lendl and Mats Wilander in the 1988 U.S. Open final. It was also the longest match at the Australian Open, which was hosting its 100th men’s championship.
“We made history tonight,” Djokovic said at the presentation ceremony. “Unfortunately, there couldn’t be two winners.”
It was the second time in 135 Grand Slam matches that Nadal was beaten after winning the first set. The only other time was against fellow Spaniard David Ferrer at the 2007 U.S. Open.
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