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Fine margins helped me clinch Aussie crown: Djokovic


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Silver service: Novak Djokovic is all smiles after winning a record eighth Australian Open title, his 17th Grand Slam win

Silver service: Novak Djokovic is all smiles after winning a record eighth Australian Open title, his 17th Grand Slam win

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Silver service: Novak Djokovic is all smiles after winning a record eighth Australian Open title, his 17th Grand Slam win

Novak Djokovic felt he came within one shot of losing an Australian Open final for the first time in a "turbulent" five-set battle against Dominic Thiem.

Djokovic wrote new history for himself by fighting back from two sets to one down to win 6-4 4-6 2-6 6-3 6-4 and extend his record for titles won at Melbourne Park to eight.

The Serbian now has 17 Slam titles, only three short of record holder Roger Federer, and will reclaim the World No.1 ranking from Rafael Nadal today, while he also became the first man in the Open era to win Slams across three decades.

But it could have been so different had Thiem, playing in his third Grand Slam final, capitalised on the momentum he had at the end of the third set.

Djokovic, rattled by successive time violations when he dropped serve at 4-4 in the second set, went on to lose six games in a row and consulted the doctor at 4-1 down in the third.

Thiem had a break point in the third game of the fourth but Djokovic saved it with a bold serve-and-volley and turned the match back around in his favour.

Asked to describe the contest, he said with a wry smile: "Turbulent. It started off really well. I felt the experience on my side playing many Australian Open finals.

"I played a bad game at the beginning of the second. After I lost the second set, I started to feel really bad. My energy dropped.

"I don't understand why because I've been doing the things that I've been doing before all of my matches. I was hydrated well and everything. The doctor said I wasn't hydrated enough.

"I kind of regained my energy and strength midway in the fourth set and got back in. I was on the brink of losing.

"Dominic is a fantastic tennis player that plays with a tremendous amount of power in his shots, especially from the forehand side. He uses his slice really well. He disrupted my rhythm.

"He was the better player. Probably one point and one shot separated us. It could have gone a different way."

Thiem had no regrets, saying: "In the last two sets, I gave everything I had. Novak is part of three guys who are by far the best players ever. These guys brought tennis to a completely new level. They also brought me probably to a much better level."

Britain's Joe Salisbury set his sights on becoming the best doubles player in the world after winning his first grand slam title alongside American Rajeev Ram yesterday.

Salisbury and Ram defeated Australian wild cards Max Purcell and Luke Saville 6-4 6-2.

On Saturday, a thrilling women's singles final was won by American Sofia Kenin, who defeated Spain's Garbine Muguruza, 4-6 6-2 6-2. "The fight in me, I feel that's something you can't teach," said Kenin.

Belfast Telegraph