No­vak joins greats with maiden French crown

Jerusalem Post - - SPORTS - R #Z +6-*&/ 13&505 (Reuters, Peter Figura/ITA)

PARIS (Reuters) – No­vak Djokovic joined the tennis greats on Sun­day when he downed Bri­tish sec­ond seed Andy Mur­ray 3-6, 6-1, 6-2, 6-4 to claim his maiden French Open ti­tle and hold all four Grand Slams at the same time.

The world No. 1 re­cov­ered from a ner­vous start to im­pose his pace on Court Philippe Cha­trier and clinch his 12th Grand Slam crown af­ter three pre­vi­ous fail­ures in a Roland Gar­ros fi­nal.

Djokovic is only the third man af­ter Don Budge and Rod Laver to hold the four ma­jors at the same time, and the eighth man to tri­umph at Wim­ble­don and the French, US and Aus­tralian Opens.

“It’s a very spe­cial mo­ment, pos­si­bly the big­gest mo­ment in my ca­reer,” the 29-year-old, who now has a 5-2 win-loss record against Mur­ray in Grand Slam fi­nals, said court­side.

Mur­ray said: “This is some­thing that is so rare in tennis. It has not hap­pened for an ex­tremely long time and it is go­ing to take a long time for it to hap­pen again.

“So ev­ery­one here who came to watch is ob­vi­ously ex­tremely lucky to see it. Me NO­VAK DJOKOVIC basks in the glory of his first French Open tri­umph af­ter he beat Andy Mur­ray in yes­ter­day’s fi­nal at Roland Gar­ros. Mean­while, Is­raeli teen Yshai Oliel (in­set) cap­tured the boys’ dou­bles ti­tle with Czech part­ner Pa­trik Rikl. per­son­ally be­ing on the op­po­site side it sucks to lose the match.”

It looked like Djokovic got off to a dream start, tak­ing Mur­ray’s serve to love in the first game.

But the Bri­ton, who was play­ing his 10th fi­nal at a ma­jor, hit the ball early to set up three break points in the fol­low­ing game, con­vert­ing the third with a fine lob. He held to love and then broke again, win­ning 16 of 20 points to lead 4-1.

Ten­sion threat­ened to boil over when Mur­ray shouted “Get him out,” point­ing to a French TV in­ter­viewer who was in the play­ers’ box, be­fore Djokovic had an al­ter­ca­tion with the chair um­pire.

As Mur­ray was serv­ing for the set, he was awarded a point to lead 30-0, Djokovic hav­ing hit his re­turn be­fore an “out” call on the serve was made.

“The call was af­ter you hit the ball. I’m 100 per­cent sure,” Damien Du­mu­sois told a frus­trated Djokovic.

Mur­ray, who beat Djokovic in the Rome Masters fi­nals on clay last month, went on to win the set when his op­po­nent net­ted a back­hand.

He had a break point in the first game of the sec­ond set, but that was as good as it got for the Scot.

Djokovic, his ag­gres­sion now chan­neled and matched by his ac­cu­racy, won the re­main­ing games.

He raced to a 4-1 lead in the third set, break­ing in the fifth game with a del­i­cate an­gled drop shot that trig­gered chants of “Nole, Nole, Nole, Nole” in the stands.

There was no come­back in that set for the 29-year-old Mur­ray, who then dropped serve in the open­ing game of the fourth set.

Djokovic, who is now on a 28-match win­ning streak in Grand Slams, broke to love to lead 5-2. Mur­ray pulled a break back, but Djokovic shook off late jit­ters to win the ti­tle on his third match point when the Scot net­ted a back­hand at the end of a nail-bit­ing rally.

Is­rael’s Oliel wins boys dou­bles ti­tle

Also Sun­day, 16-year-old Is­raeli Yshai Oliel claimed the boys’ dou­bles ti­tle at Roland Gar­ros with Czech part­ner Pa­trik Rikl. Oliel and Rikl beat Yun­seong Chung of South Korea and Or­lando Luz of Brazil 6-3, 6-4 in the fi­nal.

Oliel, who was knocked out by No. 8 seed Jurabeck Ka­ri­mov of Uzbek­istan in the sec­ond round of the sin­gles tour­na­ment in Paris, is widely con­sid­ered to be the fu­ture of Is­raeli tennis, win­ning both the 12s and 14s ti­tles at the pres­ti­gious Ju­nior Orange Bowl In­ter­na­tional in Florida.

Oliel’s tri­umph on Sun­day came 13 years af­ter cur­rent Is­rael No. 1 Dudi Sela won the same ti­tle.

Al­lon Si­nai con­trib­uted to this re­port.

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