MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 31:  Novak Djokovic of Serbia holds the Norman Brookes Challenge Cup after winning the Men's Singles Final over Andy Murray of Great Britain during day 14 of the 2016 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 31, 2016 in Melbourne, Australia.  (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)
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Djokovic captures sixth Australian Open title


MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Novak Djokovic was still walking around Melbourne Park with his trophy, celebrating his record sixth Australian title, when five-time runner-up Andy Murray was heading for the airport in a rush to reunite with his pregnant wife.

Top-ranked Djokovic maintained his perfect streak in six Australian Open finals with a 6-1, 7-5, 7-6 (3) victory on Sunday night, equaling Roy Emerson’s record for Australian titles. Murray continued his unwanted streak, too, slumping to 0-5 in championship deciders Down Under.

“First of all I need to pay the respect to Andy,” Djokovic said. “Tough match, tough luck tonight.

“You’re a great champion, great friend, very committed to this sport. I’m sure in the future you’re going to have many opportunities.”

The 28-year-old Murray had his share of distractions in Australia. His wife, Kim, is due to have their first child in February and stayed in Britain. Kim’s father, Nigel Sears, traveled to Australia as coach for Ana Ivanovic, and had to be rushed to hospital by ambulance while Murray was on court in his third-round match. Nigel Sears spent a night in a nearby hospital last weekend but was well enough to return home, which meant Murray could stay in Australia and try to refocus on winning the title.

“It’s been a tough few weeks for me away from the court,” Murray said in his on-court speech, thanking his support team before turning his attention to his wife.

“You’ve been a legend the last two weeks. Thank you so much for all your support,” he said, choking back tears and waving as he walked away from the microphone. “I’ll be on the next flight home.”

A little more than a half-hour later, Murray was sitting in a mandatory news conference, saying he was proud of his achievements here but was ready to get home. At 11:15 p.m. local time, Murray said he was aiming for a 1 a.m. flight – “I’ve been held on flights for it feels like five days. The first one out of here, I’m leaving.”

Hundreds of Serbian fans, many waving flags, gathered outside and cheered and screamed as Djokovic did an interview with the host TV broadcaster.

“I never experienced this much crowd and this much love,” Djokovic said, before waving to his fans. “It’s an incredible feeling especially because of the fact that I managed to make history tonight, and equal Roy Emerson’s record of six Australian Opens, that’s why this trophy is even more.”

Djokovic increased his career haul to 11 Grand Slam titles, including four of the last five, to join Rod Laver and Bjorn Borg at No. 5 on the all-time list.

Two-time major winner Murray, meanwhile, became only the second man to lose five finals at one major – Ivan Lendl lost five and won three U.S. Open finals in the 1980s.

Djokovic had won 10 of his previous 11 matches against Murray and was 21-9 in their career meetings – including four finals at the Australian Open.

Again, he was just too good.

Djokovic broke to take a 2-0 lead and, after he’d hit a perfectly placed drop shot, a fan yelled: “Give him a chance Novak!”

He didn’t, racing to a 5-0 lead and serving out the first set in 30 minutes.

The second set contained long rallies and plenty of tension. Murray was yelling at himself and swiping his racket in anger, and Djokovic waved his racket in frustration as well.

After an exchange of breaks in the seventh and eighth games, Djokovic broke again in the 11th and closed out the set before taking an early break in the third set with a forehand winner around the post. Murray broke back in the sixth game and the set went to tiebreaker.

Djokovic took a 6-1 lead, setting up five championship points, and finished if off in 2 hours, 53 minutes, with an ace on his third match point.

He dropped to his hands and knees and kissed the court, slapping it with his right hand, and went to the stands to hug Boris Becker, his coach since 2014.

© 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. 

Goffin and Gasquet reach European Open semifinals

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ANTWERP, Belgium (AP) Top-seeded David Goffin of Belgium had more trouble than expected against Romanian qualifier Marius Copil, rallying to win 5-7, 6-1, 6-3 to reach the semifinals of the European Open on Friday.

Goffin, who is trying to qualify for next month’s season-ending ATP Finals in London, took control after dropping his serve twice in the first set. In the next two sets, he saved the only break point that he faced, and broke the 198-ranked Copil’s serve five times in the match.

The No. 12-ranked Goffin next plays Argentine Diego Schwartzman, who downed fourth-seeded Pablo Cuevas 7-6 (8), 6-3, breaking the Uruguayan’s serve twice in each set.

Third-seeded Richard Gasquet of France advanced to the last four by beating Jan-Lennard Struff 6-2, 6-4. Gasquet, who broke the German player’s serve three times, remains on course to reach his third final of the season.

“I knew how dangerous he was, having watched him win against Gilles (Simon) this week,” said Gasquet, who has 13 career titles. “I am very happy with the way I played, particularly in the second set, when he broke me at 4-2.”

The 19th-ranked Gasquet next plays Britain’s Kyle Edmund, who beat Italian veteran Andreas Seppi 6-3, 6-4 in their first career meeting – breaking him once in each set.

Gasquet lost to Edmund in straight sets in the first round of this year’s U.S. Open.

Top-seeded Svetlana Kuznetsova makes Kremlin Cup final

BEIJING, CHINA - OCTOBER 05:  Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia returns a shot against Madison Keys of the United States during her Women's singles third round match on day five of the 2016 China Open at the China National Tennis Centre on October 5, 2016 in Beijing, China.  (Photo by Etienne Oliveau/Getty Images)
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MOSCOW — Top-seeded Svetlana Kuznetsova beat fourth-seeded Elina Svitolina of Ukraine 6-1, 6-7 (2), 6-4 in the Kremlin Cup semifinals on Friday to remain on course to claim the eighth and last spot in the WTA Finals.

Kuznetsova will qualify for the finals in Singapore on Sunday only if she wins the tournament. Otherwise, the place will go to Britain’s Johanna Konta.

As in the quarterfinal win against Hungarian Timea Babos, the Russian lost the second set in the tiebreak before prevailing in the final set.

In the other semifinal, Daria Gavrilova of Australia played Julia Goerges of Germany later Friday.

In the men’s event, Fabio Fognini upset second-seeded Albert Ramos-Vinolas 6-2, 6-2 to face in the semis third-seeded Philipp Kohlschreiber of Germany, who beat Thomaz Bellucci of Brazil 6-4, 6-2.