Novak Djokovic's record-breaking win over Andy Murray in the 2013 Australian Open men's final on Sunday demonstrated why the current world No. 1 is arguably the greatest champion the prestigious Grand Slam has ever seen.
Djokovic took down Murray in four sets, becoming the first man in the Open era (began in 1968) to win back-to-back-to-back Aussie Open championships (via Australian Open on Twitter):
A four-time Slam champion Down Under, the Serbian superstar is now all alone in the record book having won three straight Norman Brookes Challenge Cups.
Let's see how he got it done.
One of the key stats that stood out in Sunday's final was the disparity of second-serve points won between Djokovic and Murray. While Murray won 65 percent of his second-serve points in the opening set, which he would eventually win in a tiebreaker, the reigning U.S. Open champion faltered down the stretch.
From the second set to the fourth and final one, Murray won just 38, 33 and 38 percent of his second-serve points. On the other hand, Djokovic delivered, winning 60, 75 and 67 percent of his second-serve points over that time to effectively bury Murray.
Djokovic was able to break Murray with relative ease as those numbers show, taking the last two sets in under an hour and a half.
When you're losing a majority of your second-serve points, you lose focus on your first serve, and you become extremely vulnerable. In Murray's case, it may have cost him a shot to dethrone the champion.
Clutch Play in Big Moments
Djokovic didn't shy away from the high stakes on Sunday, but instead rose to the challenge, playing his best tennis during the match's most critical moments.
In addition to not allowing Murray to break him once, Djokovic only surrendered four break-point chances to his opponent over the course of the match. The reason being that Nole was near flawless when serving at 30-30 or deuce, converting on 91 percent of those points to go ahead and avoid giving Murray chances to break his serve.
Djokovic wasn't perfect on Sunday, but he was incredibly close. After dropping a tough first set, he bounced back like a champion is supposed to, showing nerves of steel in the second-set tiebreaker, which propelled him down the stretch and into the history books.
Aggressive vs. Passive
Djokovic was the aggressor throughout Sunday's impressive victory, and the numbers prove it.
Nole was somewhat sloppy during the opening set, committing 25 unforced errors as compared to Murray's 12. But eventually, his aggressive play began to pay off as shots that had been errors in the first set started turning into winners.
In the end, Djokovic would finish the match with 18 more winners than Murray, coming away with a 17-11 edge in ground stroke rally winners. In the biggest match thus far in 2013, Djokovic brought his A-game, that's for sure, but he also played to win, demonstrating a combination of fearlessness and focus not often witnessed in a Grand Slam final.
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