The predictions had been for something akin to their near six-hour battle in the final here seven years ago but Djokovic had other ideas, taking just two hours and four minutes to claim a 6-3, 6-2, 6-3 victory and a 15th slam crown.
The title, his first in Melbourne since 2016, separated him from the tie he was in with Roy Emerson and Roger Federer, while Djokovic is the first man ever to win three successive slam titles on three different occasions.
Three years ago, of course, he went on to make it four in a row by winning the French Open, and on this form even Nadal on clay will be hard pushed to prevent a repeat.
Part of the problem was that the Spaniard did not appear to trust the more aggressive game that had carried him through to the final without the loss of a set and instead reverted to his more defensive clay-court style.
That was manna from heaven for Djokovic, who, instead of fearing the Nadal forehand, sees it as something to be attacked, and time and again he got his reward.
This was their seventh meeting in a slam final and the first to be decided in straight sets, with Djokovic’s final tally of 34 winners and only nine unforced errors demonstrating just what an extraordinary performance this was.
Nadal began their 53rd meeting trailing 27-25 but had not won a set in seven hard-court matches against Djokovic since 2013 so perhaps it was not surprising he began nervously.
Djokovic was ruthless, dropping only one point in the first three games, and only one on serve in a first set that was far less close than the scoreline suggested.
Nadal, who came into the tournament having not played a competitive match since the US Open, was so tight he completely missed an attempted forehand but by the end of the nine games there were at least signs that he was starting to warm to his task.
But the forehand, which has been so destructive this tournament, continued to be more miss than hit and nothing less than perfection was going to be good enough against Djokovic in this form.
He broke the Nadal serve again to lead 3-2 and finished off the second set with a run of five games in a row.
Djokovic appeared to be throwing in drop shots just to give himself a challenge so utterly in control was he, and the pattern did not change in the third set, with the Serbian moving ahead in the third game.
He finally faced a break point at 3-2 but Nadal netted and with that went his final chance to get any kind of foothold in the match.
Djokovic clinched victory on his second match point when, aptly, Nadal missed once more with a forehand.
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Newly crowned Australian Open champion Naomi Osaka was at Melbourne’s Brighton Beach on Sunday morning holding the Daphne Akhurst Memorial Cup in her hands, hours after defeating Petra Kvitova in three sets in the tournament’s final.
Saturday’s win also meant that Osaka became the new world no.1 in the women’s tour.
The 21-year-old Japanese was the first female tennis player to win two consecutive Grand Slam titles since Jennifer Capriati in 2001. Osaka won her maiden major title at the 2018 US Open.
The 21-year-old from Japan, the first Asian man or woman to top the singles rankings, built on her maiden title at the US Open with a 7-6 (2) 5-7 6-4 victory to make it back-to-back slam successes.
Judging by what will surely be the first two of many slam finals, Osaka does not do routine. But, while her victory over Serena Williams in New York was all about controversy and meltdowns, this time the drama was all on the scoreboard.
At a set and 5-3 with Kvitova facing three match points, Osaka looked poised to stroll over the finish line only to lose four games in a row and the second set.
She had lost her head, too, but one of the most impressive things about her this fortnight has been the way she has overcome every mental hurdle placed in front of her and so it proved again.
Kvitova, who would also have become number one with victory, was playing in her first grand slam final since winning her second Wimbledon title in 2014 and only two years after the knife attack at her home that put her career in the balance.
The Czech had won her last eight finals and more than played her part in a generally high-quality encounter but in the end had no answer.
Osaka and Kvitova are two of the biggest hitters on the women’s tour and long rallies were scarce as both looked to unleash at the first opportunity.
Osaka came under pressure at 2-2 and 3-3 but saved a combined five break points, while also seeing a break point on the Kvitova serve well saved by the Czech.
Somewhat strangely, the pair had never faced each other before, and Osaka’s lack of experience against top-class left-handers was one of the match-up’s unknown factors.
Osaka struggled to read Kvitova’s serve initially but picked up the pace in the 12th game, forcing two set points. She could not take either, though, Kvitova producing a tremendously gutsy forehand to save the first and then a big serve on the second.
However, the Czech was simply outplayed in the tie-break, Osaka powering a return onto the line for a winner on the second point and not looking back.
Given Osaka had won her last 59 matches when taking the first set, the size of Kvitova’s task was clear, but the 28-year-old responded well and secured the first break of the match on her seventh chance.
However, a missed opportunity to make it 3-0 looked very costly as Osaka won five of the next six games. When she won the next three points to bring up three match points, it appeared the trophy was hers.
But Karolina Pliskova’s win over Serena Williams from 1-5 and match points down showed that a tennis match is never over until the final ball is hit, and this time it was her fellow Czech mounting the unlikely comeback.
Osaka was struggling to hold back tears as she left the court for a bathroom break but not for no reason has she now won 60 straight matches when claiming the first set.
Ending Kvitova’s run of five straight games was crucial and, when Osaka powered a backhand full of anger and frustration past Kvitova to break for 2-1, the power had shifted once more.
Stepping up to serve for the match for a second time, Osaka’s demons were nowhere to be seen and she clinched her fifth match point to ascend to the throne as the new queen of tennis.
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