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Djokovic beats Murray for fifth Australian Open title

Djokovic, who lost at the quarterfinal stage to eventual champion Stan Wawrinka a year ago, is 26-2 since losing in the semifinals of the US Open in September. He’ll stay safely atop the ATP World Tour rankings to be released Monday, as Murray will climb to No. 4.

Roger Federer was considered alongside Djokovic, Murray and Wawrinka as a favorite for this title at this tournament’s outset, but the 17-time major champion was shocked in the third round by Italian journeyman Andreas Seppi. Rafael Nadal, the No. 3 seed, lost in the quarterfinals to No. 7 Tomas Berdych, the Spaniard continuing to make his way back from a wrist injury and appendix surgery late last season.

Roger Federer was considered alongside Djokovic, Murray and Wawrinka as a favorite for this title at this tournament’s outset, but the 17-time major champion was shocked in the third round by Italian journeyman Andreas Seppi. Rafael Nadal, the No. 3 seed, lost in the quarterfinals to No. 7 Tomas Berdych, the Spaniard continuing to make his way back from a wrist injury and appendix surgery late last season.

Djokovic, who became a father in October, extended his head-to-head record against Murray to 16-8, including eight of their last nine meetings. That lone victory for Murray was at Wimbledon in 2013, his most recent major.

Murray’s run to the final marked a full return to the top of the game after back surgery in September 2013. He played a complete schedule last season, but has said through this tournament that he’s finally feeling fully fit again.

Murray made headlines after his semifinal win when he praised his coach Amelie Mauresmo, the Frenchwoman. Murray’s hiring of the former women’s No. 1 has been criticized by some. “I think so far this week we have shown that women can be very good coaches as well,” Murray said.

The victory is a 40th career match win at the Australian Open for Djokovic, who now has 49 career tournament titles. He’s 187-33 in Grand Slam play and is now tied for eighth place among men for Grand Slams (eight total), a group that includes Americans Andre Agassi and Jimmy Connors as well as Ivan Lendl, Fred Perry and Ken Rosewall.