Melbourne, Australia (SportsNetwork.com) - Novak Djokovic captured a men's Open Era-record fifth Australian Open title on Sunday by defeating Andy Murray in the final in Melbourne.
The world No. 1 great secured his fourth Aussie title in five years by handling the sixth-seeded Murray 7-6 (7-5), 6-7 (4-7), 6-3, 6-0 in 3 hours, 39 minutes at Rod Laver Arena. This was the first time that a men's Aussie final ended with a love set.
It marked Djokovic's eighth career Grand Slam title in 15 major finals. He's also the reigning Wimbledon champ.
Djokovic joined Jimmy Connors, Ivan Lendl and Andre Agassi as an eight- time major champ in the Open Era.
The great Djokovic also joined Stefan Edberg and Roger Federer as the only men in the Open Era to play in five finals at the Aussie Open. He has won all five of his finals here, including three now against Murray, who also gave way to the Serb in the 2011 and 2013 finals, as well as a semifinal here in 2012.
Djokovic and the now four-time runner-up Murray are the only pair in the Open Era to contest three Aussie Open title tilts.
Djokovic snuck out the ultra-tight 72-minute opening set via tiebreak before Murray returned the favor in a grueling 80-minute second. Both stanzas featured fierce ball striking, lengthy and physical rallies, and gut-busting court coverage.
But the match would take a turn for Djokovic in the third.
After trailing 0-2, he broke an agitated Murray to even the set at 2-all, consolidated the break with a hold and then would simply manage to cruise from there.
The Serbian stalwart won 12 of the final 13 games, including nine in a row to seal the deal in Melbourne. The match came to a close when a weary Murray netted one final backhand.
Djokovic broke Murray a whopping nine times, while the British star settled for five breaks in a losing effort. Murray only managed to win 14 of his 41 second-serve points for a paltry 34 percent.
The mighty Djokovic is now 12-0 versus Murray after winning the first set of their encounters.
"I want to congratulate Andy for a great tournament. Bad luck tonight," Djokovic said. "But most importantly I want to congratulate you and Kim [Sears] on your engagement. I wish you a wonderful wedding and lots of kids."
Djokovic also thanked his coach, Boris Becker, and his entourage: "They sacrifice their lives in order for me to be out here. Without their support, this wouldn't be possible."
A protester was stopped on court by security during the second set, causing a brief delay in play.
Tournament organizers said two people were arrested by police.
"Security responded immediately. Both were quickly removed with minimal disruption to play," tournament organizers said.
Security guards caught one court invader, who was wearing a white shirt with the message "Australia Open for Refugees," near the baseline during a changeover after the seventh game of the second set. The players were surrounded by security staff while stadium officials rushed into action.
A group of other people who had unfurled a large banner with the same message was escorted out of Laver Arena.
Djokovic improved to 16-8 lifetime against his fellow 27-year-old Murray, including 5-2 at Grand Slam events, and the Serb is now 3-2 in their career Grand Slam finals.
Djokovic is also now 5-2 versus Murray in best-of-five-set matches.
Murray had been 5-4 against Djokovic in their overall career finals matchups prior to Sunday.
"It's been probably the most consistent Grand Slam of my career -- I just haven't been able to win it," said Murray after his first major final appearance since back surgery in late 2013.
"We put in a lot of hard work to get back into this position," he added, paying tribute to Amelie Mauresmo and his team. "I'm a little bit closer than I was a few months ago, and I'll continue to work hard to get there.
"I'll try and come back next year and have a different outcome in the final."
Djokovic improved to 49-22 in his overall career finals, while Murray dropped to 31-15, including 2-6 at the majors.
Djokovic now owns 50 career match wins at the Aussie, where only Federer (75-12) and Edberg (56-10) have secured more victories at this hardcourt major in the Open Era.
The amazing Djokovic has won his last 10 matches against fellow Top-10 players.
Djokovic claimed a first-place check worth just over $2.4 million, while Murray settled for $1.2 million as the bridesmaid.