(From Guardian Unlimited)
Novak Djokovic beat aching limbs, a briefly wavering spirit and one of the bravest fighters in the history of tennis to hang on to his Australian Open title with his seventh straight win over Rafael Nadal in surely the best performance of his career.
It was their third consecutive final in a major and lasted five hours and 53 minutes, longer by more than an hour than the previous longest in a grand slam, the four hours 54 minutes Ivan Lendl took to beat Mats Wilander in the 1988 US Open. It was also the longest match in the history of this tournament, beating Nadal's five hours and 14 minutes semi-final win over Fernando Verdasco three years ago. It will also come to be regarded as one of the best.
The Serb won 5-7, 6-4, 6-2, 6-7, 7-5. Before this match, Nadal was 133-1 in grand slam matches after taking the first set, some record of getting on top and staying there. Not last night. Not against Djokovic in this mood. But no string of numbers can do justice to what the eye can see. And what we witnessed was a match that went from poor to better …