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Page last updated at 15:35 GMT, Sunday, 29 January 2012

Novak Djokovic v Rafael Nadal Australian Open 2012 final as it happened

LIVE TEXT COMMENTARY (all times GMT)

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By Aimee Lewis

1530: What a wonderful conclusion to a sensational fortnight of tennis. It bodes well for the year ahead, doesn't it. Djokovic has now triumphed in three consecutive Grand Slam, becoming only the fifth man in the history of the sport to do so, following in the footsteps of Rod Laver, Pete Sampras, Roger Federer and Nadal. It's time for me to wipe away the tears, thank you for all your contributions and, finally, inform you, just because I'll be in trouble if I don't, that our live text commentaries are getting a make over, which means we'll update quicker, include lots of pictures and just generally be brilliant. Probably. Definitely. I'm off to eat lots of cake, I suggest you treat yourselves too. Bye!

Twitter
Oliver Lewis on Twitter: "John Lloyd predicting a Djokovic Grand Slam already!! Don't stop there John, it's Olympic year - he may do the Golden Slam!"

1520: I hope you've got enough energy left to study the match report which is now up on this website. And you'll soon be able to watch the match in its entirety on the iPlayer, as you can with the women's final which won't take you quite as long to get through. There'll also be highlights of the Djovovic v Nadal ding dong available on this site very very soon.

Twitter
Matthew Riordan on Twitter: "One of the greatest ever tennis matches to be played. Magnificent players to grace the occasion."

Twitter
Teddy Jr on Twitter: "No words to describe that match. The limits of the human body being pushed each time these play."

1509: Former British number one John Lloyd: "He'll think of this as the greatest achievement of his tennis career because of the the way he won. He now knows there's no match he can't come back from. It wasn't that long ago a lot of top players were doubting his guts. He's showed he's as brave as any of them. I don't see any reason why he can't win the French Open. Why cant he beat Rafa on clay? I see no reason why not. He might win the Grand Slam this year. It wouldn't surprise me the way he's playing right now. We've got three more Grand Slams left and if they're anything like this we're going to be lucky and with the fab four around we've got a great summer coming up."

Twitter
Joshings on Twitter: "Six hours of tennis and then both put in just as classy performances during their speeches."

Twitter
Barbs R on Twitter: "Well, goodbye and thank you AusOpen. Well worth late nights/early am's and the bags under my eyes!"

1504: "Unfortunately there couldn't be two winners tonight but I wish you all the best for this season and I hope that we have many more matches like this, many more finals," says the world number one to Nadal, while clutching the trophy. And the champion goes on to thank everyone and everything, adding: "Sometimes it feels like you're not on a tennis court, the amount of noise you guys produce and for us it's a great feeling. It's a pleasure playing in front of you. It's my great privilege to be standing here in front of one of the greatest players ever, Rod Laver." Djokovic thanks his girlfriend, his coach and his physio, who will surely earn his crust after this tussle, and finally apologises for forgetting to mention a few sponsors. I'm sure they'll forgive you, Novak.

1501: Nadal is as gracious as ever in defeat, not that he is experiences defeat too often. "I've really had a fantastic two weeks and I'll never forget this match," he says. But the evening belongs to Djokovic who, with sweat still dripping from his every pore, steps up to the platform to collect his treasured prize.

1450: Fittingly, Rod Laver appears on court in preparation for the presentation ceremony. The players somehow manage to stay standing while a couple of sponsors say a few words before they're finally given seats, much to the delight of the spectators. No need to ask the duo twice to take to their seats as they unhesitatingly plant their tired limbs on the chairs. And who can blame them as they battled it out for five hours and 53 minutes.

Twitter
Travis on Twitter: "Best Grand Slam final since Wimbledon 2008."

Twitter
Two Yyiam on Twitter: "An absolute epic, brutal war - not just a match. Tennis: hardest sport in the world. Congrats to Djokovic."

Twitter
Bobby Scratch on Twitter: "Great game great champion. Now I can brush teeth and shower. "

1442: Djokovic falls to his feet after an inspirational performance against a man regarded as one of the greatest to have played the game. The Serb, now a holder of five Grand Slams, rips off his shirt and goes in search of his crew to celebrate. "Incredible," says John Lloyd. "The greatness we talked about last year but this match was the most important of his career. To beat who he beat after playing Murray in the semi-final and being a break down in the fifth. The amount of respect he will have gained from the other players having gone toe-to-toe with Nadal with that level of exhaustion. Definitely the greatest match he's ever played. I don't think he thinks he can believe he's done it."

Djokovic 5-7 6-4 6-2 6-7 (5-7) 6-5 *Nadal
Deafening whistles greet the players as they calmly leave their seats following the changeover. Djokovic just needs to hold to claim a fifth Grand Slam. He merely needs to hold to win his third title at Melbourne Park... It's looking good for the Serb at 30-0, but the defending champion hits what seems like a risk-free smash into the tape and, as quick as a flash, we're 30-all. Nadal, the marathon man, is defending stoutly and, out of nothing, has break point when Djokovic carelessly nets. The Serb caresses his chest out of relief after an angled forehand into the corner takes the game to deuce. Fortune favours the Serb when a net cord goes his way for Championship point. A hush descends around the arena, I'm sure you can hear some blink, before Djokovic composes himself to launch a venomous serve down the middle and leaves Nadal looking as if he has cement in is trainers with a walloping forehand.
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The match is over
NOVAK DJOKOVIC BEATS RAFAEL NADAL 5-7 6-4 6-2 6-7 (5-7) 7-5 TO WIN AUSTRALIAN OPEN

*Djokovic 5-7 6-4 6-2 6-7 (5-7) 6-5 Nadal
Sticking with the tennis, eh. Thought so. The previous longest match in Australian Open history also involved Nadal, that was his semi-final win over Fernando Verdcasco. Nadal flaps to allow Djokovic to sneek ahead at 30-15, much to the delight to the Serbian's fans who jump to their feet before quietly returning to their seats as the second seed battles back to 30-30. The Spaniard dithers again, though, by needlessly hitting wide and it's break point Djokovic. The first serve is miles long... second serve - his fastest serve of the match - is good, though, and sends Djokovic chasing shadows. Djokovic conjures a second break point and the Serbian takes his chance when Nadal's slices a backhand into the net. Is this it?
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Djokovic 5-7 6-4 6-2 6-7 (5-7) 5-5 *Nadal
Djokovic's serve doesn't waver under the pressure, although he does falter slightly with a double fault before a crisp winner into the corner sees him through for a comfortable hold to 15. If your nerves can't take this then apparently there's figure skating on the red button...
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*Djokovic 5-7 6-4 6-2 6-7 (5-7) 4-5 Nadal
Djokovic collapses to the ground in despair - and the spectators give the duo a standing ovation - after a high-quality rally, one of the longest of the match, comes to a halt when the Serb hits long. "Has he got anything left?" asks Jonathan Overend of the Serb. Yes, yes he has. Djokovic looks out on his feet, as they say, but he successfully challenges a call to prevent Nadal easing 40-0 ahead and drags the game to deuce thanks to a clean winner to the corner. A nerve-jangling rally goes Djokovic's way for break point when Nadal's backhand drifts into the tramlines but the Spaniard thwarts the Serb's challenge and Nadal celebrates with a stentorian "come on" when Djokovic hits long to gift Nadal the hold. So, Djokovic serving to stay in the match...
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Djokovic 5-7 6-4 6-2 6-7 (5-7) 4-4 *Nadal
Unbelievable. Djokovic bravely dashes to the net and his high-risk strategy pays dividends as a scurrying Nadal can't get enough graphite on the fluffy yellow ball. The Serb's backhand is now as reliable as ever as he finds the corners, eventually causing Nadal to net for 40-15 - and he holds when the Spaniard can only return a serve to the wings into the tramlines. As you were then.
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Twitter
Michael Davis on Twitter: "The number of times the commentators have said 'unbelievable' is unbelievable "

*Djokovic 5-7 6-4 6-2 6-7 (5-7) 3-4 Nadal
"Everything now is going to be cheered to the skies by these hard-core supporters, just a few empty seats but not many," says 5 live commentator Jonathan Overend. Djokovic has a chance at 30-30 when Nadal, with the court at his mercy, punches a straightforward looking backhand long and the Serb engineers a break point by forcing Nadal to net. The Spaniard is once again wayward with a forehand and we're back on serve. Cripes. I need to sit in a darkened room. This is officially the longest match in Australian Open history.
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Djokovic 5-7 6-4 6-2 6-7 (5-7) 2-4 *Nadal
Djokovic, hoping for a 21st hard court title, leads Nadal 10-5 in head-to-head meetings on hard courts, but he seems to have dropped down a gear here while Nadal is at full throttle. The 24-year-old Serb moves to the net with purpose, and seeing the defending champion's towering 6ft 2in frame standing so close at the other side of the tape forces Nadal to net. But it's brutal stuff from the baseline from both and it's Djokovic who blinks first, prodding wide to gift Nadal break point. And the ruthless Nadal gobbles up his chance when Djokovic drags another forehand long. The Spaniards in the Arena are on their feet and who can blame them.
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Twitter
Capital R on Twitter: "Even the football can wait.. .This tennis match is too epic to miss now. "

*Djokovic 5-7 6-4 6-2 6-7 (5-7) 2-3 Nadal
Djokovic, stepping in for a return, stumbles as if he's spent the evening drinking hard liquor and it's Nadal in the ascendancy, holding to love for the second game on the trot.
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Djokovic 5-7 6-4 6-2 6-7 (5-7) 2-2 *Nadal
Not a glimmer of emotion from either player as they purposefully make their way back from the changeover. Djokovic looks a little fatigued when he hits a backhand into the tramlines - that would have dropped on the line in previous sets - to give Nadal a chance at 30-all. "I'm reluctant to say he's running on empty because he's done that a few times in this tournament," says 5 live's Pat Cash of the Serb, who eventually levels the match by sending Nadal to and fro on the baseline, forcing the Spaniard to impatiently shoot a forehand wide.
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*Djokovic 5-7 6-4 6-2 6-7 (5-7) 1-2 Nadal
Nadal getting his booming serve on target with ease, holding to love before heading to his chair for a well-deserved breather.
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Twitter
The Times' Neil Harman on Twitter: "To those writing off the Djoker I would say hold your horses."

Djokovic 5-7 6-4 6-2 6-7 (5-7) 1-1 *Nadal
Djokovic, not playing with Nadal's intensity - but who does - restores parity in the fifth set with a cool hold.
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Twitter
Gareth Hockin on Twitter: "Djokovic must know how Murray felt, missing out on the decisive break points. Could the result be the same"

*Djokovic 5-7 6-4 6-2 6-7 (5-7) 0-1 Nadal
It's Monday morning in Melbourne as these two gladiators embark on the fifth and final set - the first time the pair have contested a fifth set in a Grand Slam final. Four hours and 45 minutes have elapsed since the match began and Djokovic understandaly changes shirts. Nadal seems to have fire running through his veins as the Spaniard attacks with a trademark forehand to the corner for 30-15 and completes an impressive hold thanks to two biting serves.
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Djokovic 5-7 6-4 6-2 6-7 (5-7) *Nadal
Whatever the result, these men have participated in the longest final in the Australian Open's 107-year history. Djokovic plonks a forehand long to hand Nadal a mini-break at 3-2. That break is immediately restored, however, when Nadal's forehand clips the net cord and flies out of play. Some of the spectators watching from the lattice of their fingers as Djokovic earns a mini-break when Nadal's radar is off target. With victory in sight, the Serb works Nadal wide and then hits an unstoppable forehand into an open court for 5-3, but Nadal drags himself back into the match and suddenly has set point thanks to a cool ace at 6-5. And the Spaniard takes the match into a fifth set when Djokovic's forehand sails wide.
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Twitter
Adam Watts on Twitter: "I'm not sure Roman gladiators battered each other as much as Djokovic and Nadal are."

*Djokovic 5-7 6-4 6-2 6-6 Nadal
"If he holds here anything can happen in the tie-break," says Pat Cash of Nadal, who holds comfortably to love to ensures it's tie-break time. Deep breaths, everyone. Deep breaths.
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Djokovic 5-7 6-4 6-2 6-5 *Nadal
Djokovic nudges a backhand into the tramlines for 30-30 and it's tense out there. Oh, it's tense alright. Perfect timing from the Serb for the next point, though, as he whips a backhand to move to within a point of the game and Djokovic holds when Nadal nets with a backhand. I don't want to add to the pressure, because I know Nadal is probably checking these updates on his mobile during the changeover, but Nadal must serve to stay in this set - and match - and the Championship. If anyone can, though, Rafa can.
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*Djokovic 5-7 6-4 6-2 5-5 Nadal
"Rafa not easing off, he's continuing to go for the winner," says Pat Cash, but in doing so the Spaniard's groundstrokes malfunctions to gift Djokovic the first point of the game. Djokovic, standing a few inches from the baseline, prods a sliding backhand long for 30-15 and the former world number one clings on thanks to a whipping backhand to prolong this set, and the match.
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Djokovic 5-7 6-4 6-2 5-4 *Nadal
Just a 10-minute break to close the roof, which adds a certain je ne sais quoi to an already tense atmosphere. The interlude hasn't hampered Djokovic because, as quick as a flash, he's at 40-0 and finishes the game with a spectacular running forehand winner, which curls around the post. Nadal thought he had won that point but the ball just bounced back from an irretrievable angle, just like a pesky boomerang.
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Twitter
Doreen Umeadi on Twitter: "Nadal's intensity levels have gone up a thousand percent if that's even possible! Rain break what timing!"

Twitter
Vin on Twitter: "Feeling sorry for the ball kids? What's the point of wiping the court with tiny towels whilst rain is falling?"

1245:
It's raining
Rain drops falling from the Melbourne sky so there's a slight delay in play to allow for the roof to be closed. Nadal has left the court, while Djokovic is patiently sitting in his chair. The Serb perhaps thanking the weather gods for halting play when a pumped-up Nadal seemed back on song.

*Djokovic 5-7 6-4 6-2 4-4 Nadal
Djokovic plants a fabulous backhand down the line, much to Nadal's dismay, and the struggling Spaniard is trying to attack from the baseline but can't penetrate Djokovic's impervious defence. Nadal nets and then a forehand winner down the line from Djokovic earns him three break points. "This is unbelievable tennis," says Pat Cash. And it is you know, it really is. Supernaturally good tennis from both players as Nadal saves one, saves two, saves three break points! The Spaniard somehow whips a winner down the line for deuce and holds - much to the delight of the crowd - when Djokovic sends a forehand into the net. "Rafa! Rafa!" chant the Melbourne faithful wildly.
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Text in your views on 81111
Paul, Weymouth, via text on 81111: "This is a very impressive Djokovic performance, he's like a machine . If you touched him you would find that he is really made of some type of composite alloy . Great final. Hope Nadal can come back. "

Djokovic 5-7 6-4 6-2 4-3 *Nadal
While Nadal has to stretch every sinew to hold, Djokovic looks comfortable and trouble-free on his serve and the Serb holds to 15, with Nadal bringing that game to an end by netting a return.
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*Djokovic 5-7 6-4 6-2 3-3 Nadal
Even though Djokovic needed nearly five hours to beat Murray in his semi-final, Nadal has spent almost 95 minutes longer on court during this tournament. Just saying. The 25-year-old Mallorcan looks comfortable at 30-0 but carelessly double faults to give the Serb a sniff - and then nets for a chokingly-tense 30-30. Nadal averts danger by running around for a crosscourt forehand winner, and glances towards his camp before dipping a backhand winner for a strenuous hold.
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Djokovic 5-7 6-4 6-2 3-2 *Nadal
Cowboy-style whoops from the spectators after a fabulous winner from Nadal who, at 15-30, looks like he's found his mojo. "It's always tough when you're on the backfoot," warns Pat Cash in the 5 live commentary box as Djokovic restores parity and launches down a bullet of a serve for 40-30. A hush descends on Rod Laver Arena as Djokovic prepares to serve at game point, and the Serb comes through unscathed.
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Twitter
Grant Aitchenson on Twitter: "It's incredible how much Djokovic has improved his game over the past year and a bit, could dominate for years like Federer did!"

*Djokovic 5-7 6-4 6-2 2-2 Nadal
"Nadal is at full-throttle but he's not hurting Djokovic," says Jeremy Bates in the commentary box. The Spaniard, luminous green t-shirt fluttering in the evening breeze, uncharacteristically flaps at an overhead to concede a cheap point. Nadal gets out of jail, though, when Djokovic can only find the tramlines and he manages to hold but can he find the keys to break free from the handcuffs Djokovic has managed to wrap around him in this match?
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Djokovic 5-7 6-4 6-2 2-1 *Nadal
In a blink of an eye, Djokovic holds to love and the Serb is back in his chair chomping at an energy bar before this sentence comes to an end.
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*Djokovic 5-7 6-4 6-2 1-1 Nadal
No-one has dominated Nadal over the last 12 months quite like Djokovic. Such was the 24-year-old's hold over the Spaniard that he added weight to his racquet during the off-season in a bid to add more bit punch to his shots. The 10-time Grand Slam champ undoubtedly has bite, but Djokovic is just hitting quicker and harder out there today. The defending champion nets for 40-30, but another crisp return has Nadal floundering at deuce. Spanish flags pop up all over the arena after a picture-perfect slam dunk from Nadal, which is followed up by an ace - his seventh of the match - down the middle for a steady(ish) hold. And a sigh of relief from Nadal.
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Twitter
Tom B on Twitter: "Djokovic is taking Nadal's game apart in a similar way Nadal does to Federer. Psychological achilles heel."

Twitter
The Times' Neil Harman on Twitter: "I'm afraid that Rafa is beginning to look very depressed, shoulders hunched more than usual."

Djokovic 5-7 6-4 6-2 1-0 *Nadal
A change of live text commentators so don't forget to tweet me @aimee_lou_lewis using the hashtag #BBCTennis or text in on 81111 (UK). I've got my second wind, can Nadal find his? Djokovic wins a fabulous rally, possibly his best match of the point, as a cute drop shot bamboozles Nadal. The Serb, you sense, toying with his opponent now. Nadal, though, punches the air in delight when he drags the game back to deuce - the Djokovic serve being tested for the first time in what seems like an age. Djokovic is soon the one celebrating with a fist-pump, though, as Nadal nets a flimsy forehand and follows it up with a forehand beyond the baseline.
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By David Ornstein

*Djokovic 5-7 6-4 6-2 Nadal
When Nadal goes long with a forehand, he falls to 0-30 and slumps his shoulders, almost in resignation. Long he goes again for 0-40 and Djokovic has three set points. Screaming forehand winner from the world number one. "NOLE! NOLE!" rings out around Rod Laver Arena.
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Anon via text on 81111: "Against anyone else I'd say Djokovic looks like he's got it in the bag at the moment. Nadal is the most mentally strong player I've ever seen though."

Text in your views on 81111
Big Derek, Camberwell, via text on 81111: "I never thought I'd see the day when Nadal was getting comprehensively outhit, but it's happening now."

Twitter
Times tennis correspondent Neil Harman on Twitter: "The whole expressive, wonderful Nole repertoire now....."

Djokovic 5-7 6-4 5-2 *Nadal
Djokovic not showing any sign of nerves as he gracefully moves 40-0 ahead and holds to love with a mesmerising winner down the line, which forces Nadal to serve to stay in the set.
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*Djokovic 5-7 6-4 4-2 Nadal
The tournament organisers have just announced record-breaking crowds for this year's event, with 686,006 fans passing through the gates of Melbourne Park. That smashes the previous record attendance of 653,860 set in 2010. No surprise on this evidence - gripping stuff. Djokovic to deuce but then comes a forehand into the net and a smack of the head. He goes long to keep Rafa afloat in the third set.
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Former British number one Jeremy Bates on BBC Radio 5 live: "Djokovic is imposing himself. Nadal is trying to create something, but his top spin is being beaten by Djokovic's flat shots. Djokovic is just steamrollering at the moment."

Djokovic 5-7 6-4 4-1 *Nadal
Novak seals a hold to love with a crunching forehand winner. Quite a way to consolidate the break, hey. "Rafa's getting beaten in all areas at the moment," says Pat Cash on BBC Radio 5 live. "But that's not to say he won't go off to boil". Jeremy Bates adds: "This puts Andy Murray's defeat by Djokovic into perspective. He gave Djokovic a greater test than Nadal is at present."
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BBC Radio 5 Live
Former British number one Jeremy Bates on BBC Radio 5 live: "Nadal, for three to four forehands just threw everything at it but the ball came right back at him with pace. Nadal has got to go for these. He has no choice."

Pat Cash on Twitter: "Rafa being overpowered #ausopen must now take a few risks and dig in!"

BBC Radio 5 Live
*Djokovic 5-7 6-4 3-1 Nadal
"It hasn't been one of their top encounters so far," says Jonathan Overend on BBC Radio 5 live. "'Cagey' is the best way to describe the first two sets. Former British number one Jeremy Bates opts for the word "simmering" to describe the current state of affairs. Overend adds: "It feels like something big is about to happen." Indeed it is... Djokovic gets to 30-30 before dispatching a midcourt backhand winner to register a break point. He takes it when Nadal drags a forehand into the tramlines. "He's bossing it now, a real shift in momentum" says Bates of the world number one and defending champ.
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Djokovic 5-7 6-4 2-1 *Nadal
Tense times at 30-30 but Nadal's groundstrokes falter and Djokovic is able to steamroller his opponent with a couple of hulking inside-out forehands. Looking in top nick now, the top seed.
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Former British number one Greg Rusedski on Twitter: "This 3rd set is huge for Nadal. Djokovic looks like he has momentum now."

*Djokovic 5-7 6-4 1-1 Nadal
The last man to win the Australian Open after losing the first set with Djokovic against Tsonga in 2008, and he's giving it a good go again on this occasion. The bruiser from Belgrade battles his way to deuce but Nadal manages to serve his way out of trouble. Meanwhile, Pat Cash on BBC Radio 5 live reminds us the both of the first two sets took nearly as long to complete as Saturday's women's final. "But they'll get equal prize money," he adds. "Time for five-set matches for women now, surely." I'm not getting into this one...
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Adam via text on 81111: "Surely it's an advantage for Nadal to be wearing green. It must be so much harder to pick the ball against a green backdrop as opposed to Djokovic's black top. Just a thought."

Text in your views on 81111
Caroline Daniels, Epsom, via text on 81111: "What are the men in yellow doing on the court in between each set. Are they security and if so why? They weren't there for the Murray-Djokovic game."

Daily Mail tennis correspondent Mike Dickson on Twitter: "Still get the feeling that if Novak plays to his normal level he will win due to demons he puts in Rafa's head, but Rafa no ordinary dude."

Twitter
Times tennis correspondent Neil Harman on Twitter: "When does the fact that The Djoker had to play 24 hours later than Rafa actually kick in do we think? If at all."

Djokovic 5-7 6-4 1-0 *Nadal
Change of commentator but no momentum shift on Rod Laver Arena... Djokovic opens the third set with a commanding hold to love. Time to be hearing from you. Tweet me @bbcsport_david using the hashtag #BBCTennis or text us on 81111 (UK).
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By Aimee Lewis

*Djokovic 5-7 6-4 Nadal
Was that the yips we saw from Djokovic? Whatever it was, you wouldn't expect the world number one to falter when so close to the second-set finishing line. But you wouldn't expect 10-time Grand Slam champion Nadal to double fault at the close, either, which is what he does. Djokovic swings at a forehand, forcing Nadal's response into the tramlines, but Nadal replies with a rapid serve into Djokovic's forehand for 30-30. The Spaniard is targeting Djokovic's ribcage and is reaping the rewards, easing to 40-30 at breakneck speed. The 24-year-old Djokovic is holds on, though, taking the game to deuce before conjuring a razzle-dazzle of a winner down the line for set point. And parity is restored when Nadal, incredibley, double faults.
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Djokovic 5-7 5-4 *Nadal
What a ding-dong we have here. Nadal is struggling to get the ball to the other side of the court, which allows Djokovic to push on to 30-0 - and the Serb punches a cute volley to move to within a point of the set. The Spanish warrior digs in, though, bravely fending off three set points before securing break point by following up a nicely disguised drop shot with a dazzling volley. And, would you believe it, Djokovic double faults to gift the game, with bows on, to Nadal.
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*Djokovic 5-7 5-3 Nadal
Pat Cash is urging Nadal to advance to the net, but he's remaining with his baseline ploy and cannily draws a scurrying Djokovic into the net, who fails to get the ball over the tape, for 15-40. The Serb is still on the Spaniard's tale, though, and forces the game to advantage. Nadal sluggishly nets and must overcome set point, which he does to force Djokovic so serve for the set.
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BBC Radio 5 Live
Former British number one John Lloyd on BBC Radio 5 live: "We've talked about what Djokovic has changed mentally in the last couple of years but think back to last year's French Open… he changed his serve when he was working with Todd Martin, he had the yips, he was serving 15 double-faults a match. We thought he might never repair his serve and confidence. Now look at his serve! It's amazing in such a short space of time."

Djokovic 5-7 5-2 *Nadal
A few familiar faces watching this enthralling contest. There's Rod Laver, of course, as well as former Liverpool and Leeds winger Harry Kewell and Prince Edward, the Duke of Kent, and Djokovic treats the onlookers to a trouble-free hold, with a deft drop shot from the net bringing matters to a delightful conclusion.
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*Djokovic 5-7 4-2 Nadal
Djokovic taking advantage of the Nadal's second serve more than he was in the first set, but a rip-roaring ace from the Spaniard eases him to 40-15 and he holds when Djokovic's radar falters.
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Twitter
Fr3kySnail on Twitter: "Nadal - Djokovic is a heavyweight contest to rival boxing's Thriller in Manila."

Djokovic 5-7 4-1 *Nadal
Don't forget you can get involved via Twitter or text. Tweet me @aimee_lou_lewis using the hashtag #BBCTennis or text in on 81111 (UK). Nadal bites back to 30-30 with a backhand winner down the line, but a gargantuan forehand into the corner nudges Djokovic to game point and he secures the all-important hold when a scampering Nadal nets.
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*Djokovic 5-7 3-1 Nadal
Pat Cash, commentating on BBC Radio 5 live, believes the energy-sapping nature of this match favours Nadal, but Djokovic won so many titles last year he needed a forklift truck to take home his annual earnings so expect him to put up a fight. The Serb has break point and places the game in his back pocket with a deft volley from his shoelaces.
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Twitter
Kathryn McDonald on Twitter: "Managed over an hour on the phone with my friend in NZ during the first set of the final - insane how amazing this match is"

Djokovic 5-7 2-1 *Nadal
"Excellent hold there from Nadal. He had a few wobbly points but then played some of his best shots in the match to dig himself out of a hole," says John Lloyd of the second game of the second set. A wobble from Djokovic, too, at 30-30 as he awards Nadal a cheap point by lazily netting, but Djokovic nibbles ahead in the set when Nadal, the ultimate baseline brawler, errors from the back of the court.
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*Djokovic 5-7 1-1 Nadal
According to Infostrada Sports, Nadal has lost just the one Grand Slam match - to David Ferrer at the 2007 US Open - after winning the first set. The man from Mallorca wobbles at 0-30 and is creaking as a flimsy forehand into the tramlines gifts Djokovic two break points. As you'd expect, though, the scowling Nadal battles on and we're at deuce thanks to a whipping winner down the line and a Djokovic error after a nerve-jangling 21-shot rally. The Spaniard squanders one advantage - when a forehand drifts into the tramlines - but clinically wraps up the game with a howitzer of an ace.
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Djokovic 5-7 1-0 *Nadal
It took Nadal a gruelling one hour and 20 minutes to clinch that set. At this pace we're going to miss out on the Antiques Roadshow which in any other circumstance would be a shame, but a sacrifice I'm willing to make for tennis. The two decide to tango at the net and it's Nadal who shows Fred Astaire-like qualities to reduce the arrears for 40-30, but Djokovic looks comfortable on his serve and manages a nerveless hold.
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*Djokovic 5-7 Nadal
Nadal's serving is as precise as a Swiss clock. The second seed, bidding for a second Australian Open title, is sending Djokovic hither and tither. The Spaniard then dashes to the line to swat an irretrievable volley to notch two set points. Djokovic, a step or two closer to the baseline, hits a clean return to save one set point - a hush goes around the court - and the Serb then saves the second when a desperate forehand from the skidding Nadal sails long. Nadal has advantage once again, though, and treats the fans to a deafening war cry when Djokovic hits long to concede the first set.
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Djokovic 5-6 *Nadal
A resilient Djokovic can't keep Nadal at bay. The Spaniard looks on the ropes but bounces back, turning defence into attack, for 30-30 and heavy top spin on a forehand down the line earns him break point, which he takes when Djokovic steps in to hit a backhand beyond the baseline.
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*Djokovic 5-5 Nadal
If you were planning on cooking Sunday lunch then make sure it's a slow-roast as this match has just passed the hour-mark and we've not finished the first set yet. And a flock of seagulls aren't helping speed up proceedings either as they fly into the arena to temporarily suspend play. Nadal looks comfortable at 40-0, but a couple of errors gives Djokovic a sniff at 40-30. A sniff is all Djokovic gets though as Nadal seals the deal with an unstoppable forehand into the corner, which leaves Djokovic lunching in vain.
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Twitter
Sam Jones on Twitter: "Is Djokovic a man or machine incredible how he's doing this....."

Djokovic 5-4 *Nadal
Nadal has Djokovic rattled at 0-30, but the Serb decides to mix it up and it pays divdends. He pressurises the Spaniard by coming to the net and levels at 30-30 by coming out on top of a brutal baseline rally. The Serb then eases ahead and is a game away from winning the set when Nadal is off target with a backhand.
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*Djokovic 4-4 Nadal
"Djokovic looked like he was back in business in that game," says John Lloyd. "For a couple of games he was looking very negative, looking up to box. Suddenly he seems calmer, he got his frustrations out. He's going to be in for a long night - Nadal is not easy to beat. He's got to be prepared for every rally being 20 shots long." Djokovic getting the better of the longer rallies in this game, dragging himself back into it at 30-30. The Serb gives Nadal some breathing space when he can only net the Spaniard's second serve, but Nadal is just as profligate with his forehand and we're at deuce. Plenty of top spin from the former world number one, but Djokovic conjures break point when Nadal's backhand drifts long. Nadal goes on to save two break points, but Nadal's running forehand sails long for a third break point and a sublime return from the defending champion forces Nadal to net a forehand - and Djokovic has grabbed his chance.
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Twitter
Sachin Mehta on Twitter: "Djokovic seems too stressed out, too early in the game - worried about him."

Djokovic 3-4 *Nadal
Djokovic, of course, looking for a seventh straight victory over Nadal in a final so the Serb understandably pulling out all the shots from his box of tricks - the highlight being a venomous winner into the corner for 40-15 and, with nearly 45 minutes of this match having elapsed, he holds when Nadal nets.
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*Djokovic 2-4 Nadal
Djokovic is now wearing a black shirt but can a change of attire revive his fortunes? Nadal opens with a belter of an ace to suggest not. Nadal has won 100% of points when his first serve has landed, with Djokovic merely successful 53% when his first serve hits the target. But, hang on, Nadal's forehand clips the net cord and bounces into the tramlines for break point Djokovic. The Spaniard, though, serves wide and opens his shoulders for a forehand winner down the line.Djokovic engineers break point numero deux with a beautiful deep return which forces the 2009 Aussie champ to error. There's a beautiful ebb and flow to this match with both players producing shots of the highest quality. We're back to deuce for the fifth time and, after a nice close-up of Nadal's sweaty visage, the Spaniard eventually prevails to consolidate his lead.
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Djokovic 2-3 *Nadal
Nadal hits a crosscourt whizzer to leave Djokovic stranded at the baseline and a wayward Djokovic forehand allows the the second seed to creep back at 30-30. Djokovic's third ace of the match nudges the top seed ahead, but once again the 24-year-old nets and we're at deuce. Oh my! Nadal earns break point with a fantastic passing shot, which skims beyond Djokovic at the net. Danger averted, though, when Nadal's backhand drifts long. But then a 20-shot slug-fest abruptly ends when Djokovic nets with a backhand for break point and another lazy backhand gifts Nadal the game. An annoyed Djokovic removes his shirt and then slams his racquet to the ground in disgust.
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*Djokovic 2-2 Nadal
A fabulous rally delightfully ends when Nadal smashes away Djokovic's attempted lob for 30-15. As Djokovic was running back into play the Serb appeared to roll his right ankle, but the Djokovic - defending a title in a Grand Slam final for the first time - is back on his feet to face the Nadal bullets. He has no answer to the Spaniard's thunderous serves, netting to gift Nadal a straight-forward hold.
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Twitter
Sam Durham on Twitter: "Think Nadal can win this. Djokovic has been looking tired in his last few games and I think Nadal is the stronger player right now."

Djokovic 2-1 *Nadal
Djokovic, who seems to be targeting his opponent's forehand, regularly finding the net in these opening exchanges, and a thunderous winner down the line sees the second seed Nadal gallop to 0-30. Djokovic recovers, launching his serve out wide and dashing forward to whack a volley into the open court, and an ace to the wings restores parity at 30-30. Nadal then unsuccessfully challenges the call and Djokovic mops up the game with a wristy ping of a forehand followed by driving winner down the line.
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*Djokovic 1-1 Nadal
The second seed opens with an ace down the middle. Djokovic hits a backhand long, which allows the Spaniard to hold to love for a smooth completion to his service game.
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Djokovic 1-0 *Nadal
The two best players on the planet line-up and it's Djokovic to serve first. The defending champion makes a tentative start, a backhand finding the net for 15-15. A fairly long rally comes to halt when Djokovic's forehand malfunctions, but the Serb - serving aggressively - quickly restores parity and wraps up matters with a menacing serve out wide.
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0840: We've not got long to wait as the players are nearing the end of their warm up. I can confirm Rafa is wearing what has been described as 'radioactive green' t-shirt, his uniform during the last fortnight. Djokovic, head to toe in white, tops off his outfit nicely with snazzy red and blue pumps.

0838: Some believe Djokovic is at a disadvantage because Nadal has had an extra day to recuperate following his semi-final victory over Federer. The stats suggest otherwise, though, because in three of the last four years the man who played his semi-final second went on to win the tournament. And to those worried that Djokovic's epic five-hour semi-final win over Murray might have taken some punch out of his racquet then worry not, there's more stats in his favour. Sort of. Back in 2009, Nadal took more than five hours to beat Fernando Verdasco in his semi and went on to beat Roger Federer two days later - in a final which lasted nearly five hours.

Text in your views on 81111
Anon via text on 81111: "I'm going out on a limb and saying Nadal in straight sets. Think win over Federer will have given him the belief."

0832: The players are in the bowels of the arena, with Nadal purposefully leading the way as they head towards the deafening roars.

0828: The opening ceremony is currently taking place and the great Rod Laver is the star attraction, appearing on court with the Norman Brookes Trophy to rapturous applause. In the meantime, Sue Barker is chatting to former British number one John Lloyd, who describes the finalists as "incredible athletes" before adding: "They're brilliant players, but we really need Nadal win one of the next couple to make it a real rivalry."

Twitter
Sufiya Patel on Twitter: "Looking forward to an awesome tennis match. I know most of you probably want Nadal to win, but Djokovic is my man. Go Nole!"

Twitter
5 live's Jonathan Overend on Twitter: "Opening ceremony will take place with the roof closed, this was always the plan. It will open for the match unless rain returns."

0820:
It's raining
There's been drizzle in the Melbourne air and if the rain returns the final will be played under a closed roof. Earlier in the mixed doubles final, a tasty appetiser to the banquet, the canopy was closed for a match won by American Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Romanian Horia Tecau after the pair beat Elena Vesnina and Leander Paes 6-3 5-7 10-3.

0812: We were treated to over four hours of breathtaking tennis in September when Djokovic conquered Nadal in four sets in the US Open final. The victory cemented Djokovic's status as the world's best player, a title seized from the Mallorcan's grasp in July during Djokovic's exhilarating fortnight at SW19 which culminated in the Serb triumphing against Nadal for his maiden Wimbledon title.

Twitter
Pat Cash on Twitter: "It's been a hot humid day in Melbourne will Novak be able to summon the energy needed to implement his winning tactics? Ausopen over 5 sets?"

0807: These two tennis behemoths are, of course, competing in a third consecutive Grand Slam final, a record in the Open era, and Nadal is hoping to avoid becoming the first man in the Open era to lose three Grand Slam finals on the trot. Can he do it? I hear you ask. Don't ask difficult questions, especially on a Sunday.

0800: A good day to you wherever you are. I hope you're sufficiently fuelled on a hearty breakfast and wearing your Sunday best in preparation for the third episode of the Grand Slam final trilogy that is Novak Djokovic versus Rafael Nadal. Will this encounter hit the heady heights of the previous two instalments? Of course it will!



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see also
Djokovic beats Nadal to win title
01 Feb 12 |  Tennis
Nadal beats Federer to make final
01 Feb 12 |  Tennis
Djokovic beats Murray in thriller
09 Feb 12 |  Tennis
Azarenka stuns Sharapova in final
28 Jan 12 |  Tennis
Tennis on the BBC
20 Dec 12 |  Tennis
Men's singles latest
21 May 10 |  Tennis
WTA Tour latest
21 May 10 |  Live scores
Order of play
15 Jan 12 |  Tennis
Men's draw
26 Aug 11 |  Tennis
Women's draw
28 Jan 10 |  Tennis
Australian Open coverage
26 Oct 11 |  Tennis


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