MELBOURNE, Jan. 27 (Xinhua) -- Novak Djokovic won the Australian Open title for a record seventh time on Sunday, defeating Spanish world number two Rafael Nadal in straight sets 6-3, 6-2, 6-3 at Melbourne's Rod Laver Arena.
With both players in superb form throughout the tournament, most fans and commentators expected a closely fought battle reminiscent of their six-hour clash in the 2012 final, which is regarded as one of the greatest five-set thrillers in the tournament's history.
But as soon as the match began, it quickly became evident that Djokovic would have the upper hand on the hard court.
Able to break Nadal's first service game with immense power and accuracy from the baseline, the Serbian world number one immediately went three games up and had no problem closing out the opening set.
With Djokovic controlling the rallies by hitting deep and pressuring the 17-time Grand Slam champion, Nadal struggled in the second set, missing a number of critical shots and failing to hold serve on two occasions.
With two sets up, Djokovic once again found the early break in the third and served out the match to claim his 15th major title.
Forced to undergo career-threatening surgery after an early exit from the tournament last year, the 31-year-old fought back tears after the match as he reflected on the past 12 months.
"To be standing now here in front of you today and managing to win this title and three out of four Slams, this is truly amazing," an emotional Djokovic said. "I'm speechless."
With his wife and two children watching from back home in Europe, Djokovic added that "trophies are even more special when I have someone so dear and so special in my life to share it with."
"They are the dearest people on this planet next to my two brothers and my parents."
"I love them very much. I want to thank them for unconditional love and support through all these years."
"They have sacrificed a lot of their time and energy for me to live my dream."