Serbia's Novak Djokovic kisses the Norman Brookes Challenge Cup after defeating Russia's Daniil Medvedev in the men's singles final at the Australian Open tennis championship in Melbourne, Australia, Sunday, Feb. 21, 2021. AP
In the climax of a tournament overshadowed by COVID-19 pandemic uncertainty, Novak Djokovic remained an unbreakable force as he thrashed Daniil Medvedev to claim a record-extending ninth Australian Open title on Sunday.
The world number one's 7-5 6-2 6-2 triumph under the lights at Rod Laver Arena secured his 18th Grand Slam title, bringing him within tantalising reach of Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal's all-time record of 20.
Much like Dominic Thiem in last year's final, Djokovic faced an opponent desperate for success and his own seat at the Grand Slam table.
Unlike Thiem, who pushed Djokovic to five sets, Medvedev never really threatened.
Djokovic made a mockery of the Russian's 20-match winning streak and his pre-match barb that all the pressure to win was on the champion.
He broke him seven times for the match and closed out the one-sided contest with a net-rush and a brilliant leaping volley.
Having extended his unbeaten record in nine finals at Melbourne Park, the Serb roared in triumph and wrapped up his team in a group hug.
He now has won six Grand Slam titles after the age of 30, equalling Nadal's record.
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