After losing in three finals at Roland Garros, Serbia’s Novak Djokovic made the fourth one count. In a showdown between the world’s two best tennis players, the better one prevailed. On his third match point, Djokovic induced Murray into playing a backhand shot. Murray is otherwise known for his masterful superiority in playing backhands but on that occasion, his attempt couldn’t cross the net and Djokovic became the new French Open champion after a three-hour match. He fell to court on his back and lay there for a while. It was too sweet a moment for him because the French open crown had been eluding him since eternity. As an added pleasure, the Serb got an all-round support and those present at the Philippe Chatrier never stopped applauding. It was almost like they do for Roger Federer. But at Paris on Sunday, it was Djokovic, who earned the accolades and wrote his name in history books. The 29-year old Serbian won his 12th Grand Slam and become the first man since 1969, when Australian Rod Laver held all four Grand Slams at once. Djokovic is now the eighth man in tennis history to have won all four Grand Slams and stands on the verge of matching Laver’s feat of winning all four in a calendar year.
If you are playing to beat world no.1 Novak Djokovic, you need to keep hitting clean winners repeatedly. The Serb has an unflinching ability to lock himself down and avoiding errors. Therefore, unless you can match him in keeping the balls in court and come up with a surprise winner, you have absolutely no chance against him. And when you are serving to him, make sure the first service falls in the box because, if you can’t do that, he will slaughter your second serve. More than anybody else, Britain’s Andy Murray knew these facts better, when he won the coin toss and decided to serve.
In a dramatic start to the final, the first two games were decided on service breaks. After Murray lost his opening serve, he broke Djokovic’s next. Murray broke Djokovic again in the fourth game to go up 4-1 after holding his own service. After that service holds followed and Murray pocketed the first set at 6-3. In the second set, Murray missed a huge break opportunity and Djokovic began to look better at that stage. Murray was rattled in the second game on his own service and yielded a break with outrageous service. Now Djokovic was on his way. Murray lost his service once more in the sixth game and Djokovic leveled set scores 1-1 by winning the second 6-1.
In the third set Murray was broken twice in third and fifth games and the whole scenario suddenly looked wretched for the Scot as the Serb led 4-1 with his service to follow. Murray held his service in the seventh game but couldn’t prevent Djokovic from taking the third set at 6-2. With Murray failing miserably with his first serve, Djokovic looked on course for his first ever French Open title.
The Serb consolidated by breaking the Scot in the opening game of the fourth set and led 2-0 by holding his own service next. The set went on serve until Murray got a break back in the eighth game. But Djokovic still led 5-4 as he went to serve for the match in the tenth game. Murray sent a lob over the base line and 40-15, the Serb held two championship points. Then Djokovic double-faulted and made another error on the next point and the score came to deuce. On the next point, Djokovic earned another championship point and a long rally ensued. The crowd began a roar in Djokovic’s support and when Murray netted a backhand, the match was over. The world no.1 had claimed his maiden French Open crown with a 3-6, 6-1, 6-2, 6-4 victory over the world no.2. The way the Serb bounced back after the first set deficit was remarkable. He simply wiped off Andy Murray with devastating display of power, touch and consistency and the Philippe Chatrier crowd loved every moment of it.