Novak Djokovic showed no signs of an injury that might derail his Australian Open campaign when he beat unseeded American Sebastian Korda 6-7 (8), 7-6 (3), 6-4 to win the Adelaide International.
Djokovic’s victory on Sunday is his second Adelaide title 16 years after his first victory in 2007 at the age of 19.
Djokovic worried Open organisers when he said after his semifinal in Adelaide against Daniil Medvedev that he had been troubled by a tight hamstring. He said the injury eased as the match progressed.
If there had been any lingering issue, it likely would have been exposed in the final match that stretched over more than three hours and finished with Djokovic claiming his 92nd career singles title.
Djokovic had to save a match and chamionship point at 5-6 in the second set Sunday and was fully stretched by the 22-year-old Korda, son of 1998 Australian Open champion Petr Korda.
The match turned on a handful of points.
Djokovic held serve to love in his first four service games of the final set and then held serve after be ing taken to deuce by Korda in his fifth service game.
Djokovic then rallied from 15-40 down at 5-4 in Korda’s next service game to win four-straight points and take the set in 51 minutes — and the match in 3 hours, 9 minutes.
“I hope everyone enjoyed the show tonight, it’s been an amazing week,” Djokovic said. “Seb’s had an amazing tournament and put in an amazing effort today.
“I think he was closer to victory at times today than I was. It was only a couple of shots, a couple of points.”
Djokovic at times showed irritation with this coach Goran Ivanicevic who supported him from a courtside box or remonstrated with himself after a wasted point.
“I’d like to thank my team for handling me, tolerating me in the good and bad times today. I’m sure they didn’t have such a blast with me going back and forth with them but I appreciate them being here.”
Djokovic’s victory on Sunday helps him level the record of his great rival Rafa Nadal on 92 ATP singles titles in the open era, with only Ivan Lendl (94), Roger Federer (103) and Jimmy Connors (109) ahead of the duo.
Djokovic is bidding for a record-extending 10th Australian Open title at the January 16-29 tournament to draw level with Nadal on 22 Grand Slam titles.