Novak Djokovic wins first Major title in Melbourne
Novak Djokovic is playing for his tenth Australian Open final against Tommy Paul. On this day 15 years ago, the Serb secured his first Major crown in Melbourne, beating Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 4-6, 6-4, 6-3, 7-6 in three hours and five minutes.
World no. 38 defeated Rafael Nadal in the semi-final and gave his best against the 20-year-old in the title clash. However, Novak prevailed and became the youngest Australian Open winner since Stefan Edberg in 1985. It was Tsonga’s 16th ATP tournament, and he almost became a Major winner.
Jo-Wilfried took a set away from Novak as the only player in the tournament before losing the next three to hand the title to the Serb. Djokovic grabbed 14 points more than his rival to seal the deal in the third-youngest Australian Open final.
Novak matched Jo-Wilfried’s number of service winners, hitting fewer unforced errors and forcing more mistakes from his opponent.
Novak Djokovic claimed his first Major title on January 27,2008.
They stayed neck and neck in the shortest and mid-range exchanges.
Djokovic played better in the most demanding rallies to emerge at the top. The Serb delivered much better numbers behind the second serve and defended three out of five break chances. Novak created 12 break opportunities and seized four to avoid a decider and celebrate the win.
Djokovic kicked off the action with an instant break in the encounter’s first game following Tsonga’s forced error. The Serb netted a routine forehand in game two to lose the advantage and bring the rival back to 1-1. Novak saved two break points in the fourth game and held after deuce at 3-4 to remain on the positive side.
Tsonga had the edge on the return and converted it into a break at 5-4 after a perfect forehand lob winner that pushed him in front. Novak grabbed a break at 3-3 in the second set and landed a service winner on his second serve in the next one to open a 5-3 gap.
The Serb served for the set in the tenth game and held at love with an ace to wrap up the set and gain a boost. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga sprayed a forehand error in the third set’s third game to lose serve, and Novak hit an ace in the next one for 3-1.
Tsonga served to stay in the set at 3-5 and defended six break points with brave hitting. Still, Djokovic converted the seventh after the rival’s volley mistake to clinch the set and move closer to the finish line. Novak led 3-2 in the fourth set before receiving treatment on his left thigh.
Jo-Wilfried stayed in touch and created a break point at 5-5 that could have sent him closer to a decider. However, the Serb denied it with a volley winner and fired two more direct points to bring the game home and gain momentum.
The set went into a tie break, and Novak opened a 3-1 lead with a forehand winner. Tsonga hit a double fault to fall 5-1 behind and push Djokovic closer to the finish line. Novak served for the title at 6-2 and sealed the deal to celebrate his first Major crown at 20.