Australian Open Final 2008

DjokovicBrisbane Time (+10 GMT)

6:35pm: Tsonga to serve.

6:47pm: First serve a little wild. Novak wins the first point. An omen?

6:49pm: Djokovic breaks in the first game. Not such a great start for the Frenchman.

7:00pm: A nervous start for both players. I’m predicting Nole will win! We are back on serve.

Fourth game is very tight. What a point to get back to deuce!! Novak wins the point from defence. The players are more relaxed now and hitting freely.

7:14pm: And we have a funny umpire (Carlos Ramos). He forgot to turn his microphone off and told the stadium that the ball was “quite close”. Then said: “Djokovic is challenging the ball that was quite close on the left service line”. Haaha! We are on serve: 3-3. Tsonga to serve next.

7:25pm: Tsonga complaining that Djokovic takes too long to serve. Oh poor baby! Djokovic did get a time violation for this against Federer if I remember correctly.

7:29pm: We are still on serve but it seems that Djokovic is having more trouble holding his serve. Tsonga has so far won two more points in the match than Novak (33 to 31). Djokovic will serve to stay in the set.

The crowd is totally going for Tsonga at the moment. Which is weird because Nole is nice too.

7:36pm: Well the first set point goes to Tsonga and he converts. First set: 6-4.

Djokovic hasn’t dropped a set this tournament and neither player has lost the first set and had to come back from behind. This definitely gives the advantage to Tsonga. Basically Djokovic had too many unforced errors (12) in that set in my opinion compared to Tsonga (8) and continues that trend into the first two points of the second set.

7:46pm: Tsonga gives a point to Djokovic by incorrectly challenging a call but seems unaffected by it. On serve, 2-1 to Tsonga.

8:00pm: Djokovic holds to love and keeps the momentum going with two break points in the next game. Three all 15-40.

8:05pm: Djokovic breaks serve. Game on! Two minutes later he is in trouble – his dad left the stadium and didn’t make it back to his seat before play started. He throws in a double fault. Nole’s ball-bounces reach into the double figures. But he ends up holding his serve. Tsonga serving to stay in the second set and seems a little off.

Djokovic bounces the ball before he serves and on the big points sometimes gets up to 25 bounces. I think it probably builds tension in the other player before he serves. It certainly works though – Novak serves really well on the big points.

8:15pm: Easy hold for Djokovic. Second set Djokovic, 6-4. One set all.

Third set, update at the end.

8:58pm: The third set: massive. Tsonga, realising he can’t dominate from the back of the court, tries a few different things. Most were unsuccessful. Even though Djokovic was up a break for most of the set it was still a massive battle. Tsonga seemed to lack confidence early in the set and Djokovic was on fire. Novak’s first serve percentage was the highest it has been for the match at 70% (which is important when you are winning 93% of the points when it’s in). Novak had multiple set points but couldn’t convert. Finally, he wins the set 6-3.

Jo-Wilfried TsongaI’ve fuelled up on my falafel burger and I’m ready for the fourth set.

9:00pm: Roger Rasheed (commentator and former coach of Lleyton Hewitt) reckons that Djokovic has been able to flatten out the ball (rather than using a lot of top spin – for newbies) so that it gets back to Tsonga quickly. Something that Nadal couldn’t do.

9:11pm: A few really physical points; both players sliding around the court. Djokovic is a little buggered. Is he fatigued and can he bounce back? Two all.

9:13pm: Jim Courier (commentator) reveals that Djokovic doesn’t play Poker on the court. Translation: he shows his emotions and fatigue. Federer is great at poker. Novak holds, 3-2.

9:20pm: Djokovic gets a nice rub down and changes his shirt. He’s been playing for two and a half hours and needs a little break. Poor kid! He is very fatigued and if Tsonga can win this set he might be in with a very big chance.

9:34pm: Tsonga serving to stay in the match. And a great game for him. He really lifts and puts the pressure back on Djokovic.

9:42pm: The eleventh game of the fourth set was huge. Tsonga had one break point but couldn’t convert; the first break point he has had since the first set.

9:47pm: Tsonga is anxious; serving his first double fault for the match. Can he win the tiebreak?

9:48pm: Novak bounces the ball eight million times and is up a mini break. Three points away from the match. 5-1 Djokovic. It isn’t looking good for Tsonga. He just can’t control the pressure. 5-2 Djokovic. He only needs to win the next two points on his serve.

9:52pm: Six match points for Novak. It’s over.

9:53pm: He only needed one. Djokovic wins the Australian Open 2008. Congratulations. Roll the emotional montage with emotive music.

I’d like to thank the sponsors: Kia, Garnier, Optus, Wolf Blass. Channel Seven for the coverage.

Update: 2.346 million people in Australia watched the Australian Open Final 2008.