Novak Djokovic ascended to Cloud Nine at Melbourne Park after reeling off yet another title.
The 33-year-old Serb moved to within two Grand Slam triumphs of Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer at the place where he simply cannot lose.
This time he saw off the potentially dangerous challenge of Daniil Medvedev with a laser-focused performance that resulted in a 7-5 6-2 6-2 that took just one hour and 53 minutes.
A beaming Novak Djokovic grabs hold of the Norman Brookes Challenge Cup after his ninth Australian Open triumph
Medvedev smiles as Djokovic pays tribute to his efforts following Sunday’s final – the pair first hit together when the Russian was ranked No 500 in the world
It was Djokovic’s ninth Australian Open success and his 18th Slam, putting him within two of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal
The winning moment for Djokovic as he secured a dominant victory over Medvedev in just one hour and 53 minutes
The Serbian celebrates with a couple of fist pumps and then dropped to the court as he celebrated his 18th Slam success
Djokovic consoles Medvedev at the net after wrapping up one of his most comprehensive final victories in a stellar career
The familiar sight of Djokovic celebrating a point with a clenched fist and a glare into the crowd during Sunday’s final
Medvedev’s racket bit the dust late in the second set as he hurled it to the ground in frustration after losing another point
The Russian world no 4 really had no solution to combat the quality and intensity of Djokovic’s game during a one-sided final
It saw him snap the 6′ 6′ Russian’s 20-match winning streak to win a ninth title, 13 years after claiming his first.
As the great champions move deeper into their thirties, the younger generation still struggle for a breakthrough. Medvedev was out-fought and out-thought, his fate finally sealed by an athletic overhead flick from the Serb.
Djokovic got off to a dominant start in a first set that rattled along surprisingly quickly, racing to 3-0 by employing an aggressive strategy in which he seemed determined to avoid getting dragged into long rallies.
Medvedev, thinking on his feet, adjusted to the tactic to fire back quickly, but there were always signs that the champion’s greater experience under pressure was going to tell.
A series of quickfire games saw Medvedev get rushed into being broken at 5-6 when he dumped a forehand in the net after saving two set points.
Djokovic fans in the crowd celebrate him taking the first set 7-5 in what was the ideal start to his latest major final
Medvedev stretches to make a return during the second set as Djokovic gave him a stern examination of his game
Djokovic stretches to play a graceful backhand during the opening set in the familiar surroundings of the Rod Laver Arena
The Russian’s groundstrokes do not score that highly on aesthetics but they are usually mighty effective, and he fired hopes of a recovery when breaking at the start of the second.
Yet we were to get a reminder of what still separates Djokovic from the chasing pack. Medvedev was immediately broken back while the Serb proceeded to dial down on his serving, looking rock solid against the uneven quality of his opponent’s returns.
That infected the rest of the Russian’s game, and before you knew it the champion was 5-2 up with Medvedev breaking his racket in frustration.
The Russian can have a volcanic temperament and soon he was constantly looking and gesticulating at his box – a warming sight from the other end of the court.
Covid-19 restrictions limited the crowd to around 50 per cent of the usual capacity – with around 7,500 permitted inside
Djokovic received the backing of a vocal Serbian support as he competed in the final for his latest Grand Slam success
Protesters interrupted the match during the second set and had to be escorted out of the arena by security guards
Djokovic’s returns, the best the sport has ever seen, sealed the second set and Medvedev was unravelling, his recent win at the ATP Finals in London counting for nothing.
Getting smothered by the relentless accuracy coming at him, the size of the occasion seemed to prevent the world number four trying something different. He has been known to revert to serve and volley but there was little sign of that.
A long, attritional game of chess had been promised but on the day Medvedev was not solid enough. With Djokovic’s stomach muscle problems of the past fortnight seemingly a distant memory it was he who was innovating as he sped towards the finish line.
The younger player briefly fired at 2-4 in the third but when he tried to get the crowd going Djokovic responded by reeling off three straight points to snuff out any chance of the revival.
Those in attendance were treated to a spectacular light show and live music before the start of Sunday’s showpiece final
Despite the arena only being half-full, there was an electric atmosphere in Melbourne for the finale of the year’s first Slam
This post was first published on DailyMail.