Djokovic on cloud nine! Feb 22, 2021 0 780 12345 DPABerlinSerbia’s Novak Djokovic won a record-extending ninth Australian Open and 18th Grand Slam with a ruthless 7-5, 6-2, 6-2 victory over Russia’s Daniil Medvedev on Sunday.His latest triumph in Melbourne brought the 33-year-old world number one Djokovic to within two of the record mark of 20 major wins shared by Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.Djokovic was more aggressive throughout but in a first set, which had one exchange of breaks, needed until the 12th game to strike decisively when he took the third of three break points to seal the set.Medvedev, who entered on a 20-game winning streak, threatened to come back by breaking at the start of the second set but Djokovic won the next four games to take control of the contest and never looked back.An early break set the tone in the third set and another in the final game, taken with an overhead into the corner, secured victory on his first championship point.“It has been a rollercoaster week for me,” said Djokovic, who was criticized for complaining about coronavirus quarantine conditions players had to endure upon arriving in Australia for the tournament.“There are a lot of mixed feeling about what has happened in the last month or so with tennis palyers coming to Australia but I think when we draw a line at the end it was a succesful tournament.“It wasn’t easy but I think they should be proud of themseves for what they have put together and allowed us to come here.” Djokovic won his first slam in Australia in 2008 in what was a rare break of the then Federer-Nadal duopoly. Since then he has established himself as part of that big three with Dominic Thiem’s US Open win last season - when Djokovic was disqualified early - the only major taken out of their hands since 2016.And on the blue hard-court of Melbourne, Djokovic has secured precisely half his grand slam titles with other wins in 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015, 2016 as well as the two preceding years.“Rod Laver Arena, I love you each year more and more,” said Djokovic.“The love affair keeps going.” The 25-year-old Medvedev was appearing in his second slam final having lost an epic 2019 five-set US Open duel to Nadal but struggled to settle and dropped his opening service game.He broke back in the fifth game of the set but Djokovic, who struggled earlier in the tournament with what he confirmed was “a tear,of the abdominal oblique muscle,” was succeeding in keeping the points short. He gradually upped the pressure and broke again to seal the set.World number four Medvedev broke at the start of the second when Djokovic weakly found the net but immediately went long to hand it back and repeated the error again on his next service game to give Djokovic the initiative. Djokovic completed that set with another break and saved two break points on his own serve to open the third. Medvedev netted straight after to effectively seal his fate though he battled on, occasionally hitting his racket or trying to gee up the crowd - limited at 7,500 at Melbourne Park amid the coronavirus pandemic - until finally succumbing.“Never easy to speak when you just lost a grand slam final, but I’ll do my best,” said Medvedev. “Congrats to Novak. Nine Slams in Australia is amazing and this won’t be your last one.” Djokovic returned the compliment, saying Medvedev was “definitely one of the toughest players I ever faced in my life.“It’s a matter of time that you will hold a Grand Slam for sure - if you don’t mind waiting a few more years!” Filip Polasek and Ivan Dodig earlier won the men’s doubles title with a 6-3, 6-4 final triumph against previous champions Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury.Slovakia’s Polasek and Croatia’s Dodig claimed their first grand slam title as a pair against the American-British duo.Ram can console himself with the mixed doubles title which he won Saturday with Barbora Krejcikova of the Czech Republic. Pages 123 RELATED ARTICLES Ons Jabeur enters Qatar Total Open 2021 main draw Feb 22, 2021 0 769 Novak glad to silence critics, confirms torn oblique muscle Feb 22, 2021 0 592 Medvedev gracious in defeat Feb 22, 2021 0 557 Man City restore 10-point lead; Leicester second DPA London Manchester City restored their 10-point lead at the top of the Premier League after they won 1-0 at Arsenal on Sunday to extend their record winning streak to 18 matches. Raheem Sterling headed City in front to ..