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Last Updated: Sunday, 27 January 2008, 11:53 GMT
Australian Open 2008

By Piers Newbery

Novak Djokovic
Djokovic was playing in the second Grand Slam final of his career
Serbia's Novak Djokovic beat unseeded French sensation Jo-Wilfried Tsonga to win his first Grand Slam title at the Australian Open.

The third seed withstood an early barrage from Tsonga to win 4-6 6-4 6-3 7-6 (7-2) and become the first Serb to win a Grand Slam singles title.

His victory in three hours six minutes ends a run of 11 straight majors won by Roger Federer or Rafael Nadal.

"I'm very, very happy that I won my first Grand Slam here," said Djokovic.

"I want to thank all the Serbian fans who came here to support me - I am so proud to be the first Serbian to win a Grand Slam title."

Both Djokovic and Tsonga went into the final confident after seeing off top seeds Federer and Nadal in the semi-finals, but the Serb had the added experience of having played in a Grand Slam final at last year's US Open.

He was going for the shots and he was very dangerous, especially in the first set

Novak Djokovic

Tsonga was playing in his first final of any sort at senior level but had demolished Nadal on Friday and began the stronger.

After missing two break points in game four he took the opening set with a stunning forehand winner followed by a superb lob in game 10.

By now, the crowd and the momentum were well and truly with the man from Le Mans and all Djokovic could do was hang on.

But the world number three did just that before turning the match on its head with a break in game seven, thanks to a fizzing backhand winner down the line.

It seemed as though the third set would prove crucial and again it was Djokovic who took the initiative.


He sealed an early break in game three and went on to take the set at the seventh opportunity in an epic ninth game.

The balance of power appeared to shift yet again in the fourth set, particularly when Djokovic required treatment on his thigh at 3-2 ahead, but his form did not waver.

It came down to the tie-break and Djokovic seized the moment, dominating throughout and serving out coolly for the title from 5-2.

"You feel the expectations and pressure, so I'm very happy with the way I dealt with the pressure," said Djokovic afterwards.

"Coming on against a player with nothing to lose - he was going for the shots and he was very dangerous, especially in the first set. I was pretty nervous."

Tennis on the BBC
07 Jan 08 |  Tennis


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