Novak Djokovic routs Rafael Nadal to win seventh Australian Open title

Serbia’s Novak Djokovic celebrates after winning the Australian Open title against Spain’s Rafael Nadal on Sunday, January 27. (Reuters)
Updated 27 January 2019

Novak Djokovic routs Rafael Nadal to win seventh Australian Open title

  • The Serbian world number one dominated the Spanish second seed to win his 15th Grand Slam title
  • Victory extended Djokovic’s win-loss record against Nadal to 28-25

MELBOURNE: An imperious Novak Djokovic won a record magnificent seventh Australian Open title by routing Rafael Nadal 6-3, 6-2, 6-3 Sunday with a display of flawless tennis.
The Serbian world number one dominated the Spanish second seed to win his 15th Grand Slam title in just 2hr 4min on Rod Laver Arena.
It put Djokovic, 31, out on his own ahead of Roger Federer and Roy Emerson, who both won six Australian Open men’s singles titles.
Djokovic dropped to the court and kissed the ground after vanquishing his greatest rival.
No two men have met more often in the Open Era, this was their 53rd meeting, and no pair have pushed one another harder or further.
Their only previous final in Australia, in 2012, developed into a record-breaking 5hr 53min slugfest — the longest in Grand Slam history.
A repeat of that epic never materialized with Nadal uncharacteristically nervous at the start and Djokovic taking immediate advantage.
The Spaniard had not had his service broken since the third set of his first round match but that streak ended in a flash as the Serb came sprinting out of the blocks.
Djokovic was in imperious control on his own delivery and won his first four service games without conceding a single point, even inducing Nadal to miss a forehand completely on the way to grabbing the set in 36 minutes.
The second set followed a similar pattern, with Djokovic racing through games on his own serve, while Nadal struggled to hold.
The pressure told in the fifth game and Djokovic broke again when Nadal hit a lob volley long after an exchange at the net.
Djokovic had only conceded two points on serve in the entire match to this point but Nadal had his first sniff at breaking when he got to 30-15 ahead and deuce, twice.
Djokovic had to withstand pressure for the first time in the match, overcoming the threat with a roar and a fist pump to go 4-2 ahead.
The on-song Serb was so fired up he came straight out and broke Nadal again to go to 5-2 before serving out for a two-set lead with three aces in a row with just 1hr 16min on the clock.
The statistics were as telling as the scoreline: Djokovic had served eight aces to Nadal’s one and made just four unforced errors while the Spaniard had coughed up 20.
When Djokovic broke again in the third game of the third set it was just a matter of how quickly he would finish off Nadal.
The end was swift, as Djokovic withstood one break point at 3-2 before administering the last rites in a flurry of winners off both wings.
Victory extended his win-loss record against Nadal to 28-25 and squared the Grand Slam final count between the pair at 4-4.
Djokovic has now completed a hat-trick of Slams following his wins at Wimbledon and the US Open.
He will go to Paris in May for the French Open seeking to become the only man in the Open Era to win all four majors twice.


England cricket players donate, take pay cuts amid COVID-19 crisis

Updated 05 April 2020

England cricket players donate, take pay cuts amid COVID-19 crisis

  • The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has said the season will not start before May 28
  • ECB’s centrally contracted women players to take a salary reduction for the months of April, May and June

LONDON: England’s centrally contracted male cricketers will donate £500,000 ($613,000) to the Board and charities while their women’s team counterparts have volunteered a three-month pay cut amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the players’ association (PCA) said.

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has said the season will not start before May 28 and speculation has been mounting over how their leading players would respond to the situation.

“Following a meeting today of all of the England men’s centrally contracted cricketers, the players have agreed to make an initial donation of £0.5 million to the ECB and to selected good causes ...” the Professional Cricketers’ Association said in a statement.

“This contribution is the equivalent of all of the England centrally contracted players taking a 20 percent reduction in their monthly retainers for the next three months.

“The players will continue to discuss with the ECB the challenging situation faced by the game and society as a whole and will consider how best to support the ECB and both the cricketing and wider community going forward.”

The ECB’s centrally contracted women players have volunteered to take a salary reduction for the months of April, May and June in line with their coaches and support staff.

England women’s captain Heather Knight said: “All the players felt like it was the right response in the current climate to take a pay cut in line with what our support staff are taking.

“We know how the current situation is affecting the game and we want to help as much as we can.

“We will be discussing with the ECB further ways we can help the game in the coming weeks,” added Knight, who has signed up with the National Health Service (NHS) as a volunteer.

The ECB has announced a 61 million pounds aid package to help the local game withstand the financial impact of the pandemic.

Wicketkeeper-batsman Jos Buttler is currently auctioning the shirt he wore in England’s 2019 World Cup final victory to raise funds for efforts to fight the coronavirus.