Valiant Murray run ragged by relentless Djokovic

Sun Jan 27, 2013 11:30am EST
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By Simon Cambers

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Andy Murray ran and ran until the skin on his feet came off and still it was not quite enough.

The Briton's hopes of winning his second successive grand slam title were ended by the resilience and defensive brilliance of world number one Novak Djokovic in the Australian Open final.

The Serb's 6-7 7-6 6-3 6-2 victory on Sunday was Murray's fifth defeat in six grand slam finals but having broken his duck at the U.S. Open last September against Djokovic, the pain is unlikely to linger quite as long this time.

Having played a five-set semi-final against Roger Federer and with a day less to recover than the Serb, a calm-looking Murray did well to save five break points in the first set and then played a superb tiebreak to move ahead.

But his big chance came and went in the second game of the second set when he had 0-40 on the Djokovic serve and failed to convert. It was the turning point of the match.

"I was getting quite a few 0-15s, 15-30s, 0-30s and I couldn't quite capitalize on my chances on his serve," Murray told reporters. "That was a disappointing part.

"I played a good second set. I created quite a few chances and didn't quite get them. That was the difference."

The two 25-year-olds, born just a week apart, are separated by two places in the rankings but they showed again that when they face each other across the net, there is a hair's breadth between them.   Continued...

Andy Murray of Britain reacts during his men's singles final match against Novak Djokovic of Serbia at the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne January 27, 2013. REUTERS/Daniel Munoz