MELBOURNE, Australia – Novak Djokovic fended off unseeded Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 4-6, 6-4, 6-3, 7-6 (2) in the Australian Open final Sunday, earning his first Grand Slam title.
No. 3-ranked Djokovic's win broke a sequence of 11 straight majors won by either Roger Federer or Rafael Nadal since Marat Safin's triumph at the 2005 Australian championship.
Djokovic had not lost a set in six matches leading into the final, including his semifinal win over two-time defending champion Federer.
But with Muhammad Ali lookalike Tsonga coming out swinging like he did in his straight-sets upset over No. 2 Nadal in the semifinals, that streak came to a sudden end.
The 20-year-old Djokovic rebounded in the second and third sets and after saving a crucial breakpoint in the fourth, clinched his first major at his 13th attempt. He was the youngest player since 1985 to win the Australian title.
Tsonga, ranked 38th, was playing his fifth Grand Slam tournament and had never previously gone beyond the fourth round. He was aiming to be the first Frenchman in 80 years to win the Australian title and the first to win any of the four Grand Slams since Yannick Noah's win at Roland Garros in 1983.