ICYMI at Australian Open: Djokovic, Osaka and the best stories from Down Under

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Djokovic tops Nadal in straight sets to win Australian Open (1:43)

Novak Djokovic defeats Rafael Nadal to win his seventh Australian Open and third consecutive Grand Slam title. (1:43)

MELBOURNE, Australia -- After 14 days of captivating tennis at Melbourne Park, Novak Djokovic and Naomi Osaka emerged as singles champions.

It might not have been the men's final many had hoped for, as Djokovic breezed by Rafael Nadal in straight sets, but on the women's side, it was much tighter, with Osaka superbly regaining her composure to stave off a Petra Kvitova comeback.

Here are some of the best stats from an action-packed fortnight Down Under:

  • Djokovic became the first player to win the Australian Open seven times.

  • Osaka is just the sixth woman in the Open era to win her first two major titles in back-to-back Grand Slams.

  • By winning the Australian Open, Osaka inherited the world No. 1 ranking and is the first Japanese player to do so.

  • The men's final was the first time Nadal lost a Grand Slam final in straight sets.

  • Each of the past 10 men's Grand Slam champions have been aged 30 years or older, the longest such streak in the Open era.

And now, without further ado, here's a look back at how the 2019 Australian Open unfolded:


Murray's final match Down Under

Before the tournament had begun, Andy Murray dropped the news that this would likely be his penultimate Grand Slam after his battle with a longtime hip injury finally got the better of him.

It came as no surprise that social media was flooded with heartfelt messages for the three-time major champion, and Murray summed up his emotions best.

Murray, a five-time Australian Open finalist, opened his 2019 campaign against Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut on Melbourne Arena.

Murray dropped the first two sets to the 22nd seed before rallying to win the next two, sending the match to a thrilling decider. Sadly for Murray, it wasn't to be, and he bowed out in the first round of a Slam for the first time in 11 years.


Tomic, Hewitt steal Barty, de Minaur's thunder

It didn't take long for the spotlight to come off Murray and fall straight onto Australian pair Bernard Tomic and Lleyton Hewitt.

After being knocked out in the first round, Tomic lashed out at the Australian Davis Cup captain, claiming that Hewitt had been promoting talent for his own gain and "no one likes him anymore."

READ MORE: Tomic, Hewitt circus overshadows the real show

The comment sparked a weeklong war of words between Tomic and Hewitt, taking the shine off some of the high-achieving locals.

For the first time in 15 years, five Australians reached the third round at Melbourne Park. Ash Barty was the pick of the bunch, winning through to the quarterfinals, where she lost to eventual runner-up Kvitova.

On the men's side, Alex de Minaur impressed, as did unseeded 19-year-old Alexei Popyrin, who sent both Mischa Zverev and No. 7 seed Dominic Thiem packing.


Serena stunned in comeback for the ages

It was one of the most remarkable Grand Slam matches of all time. At 5-1 up in the third set against Karolina Pliskova, Serena Williams had all but booked her ticket to the semifinals.

But the 23-time major champion squandered four match points before Pliskova turned the match on its head, reeling off six consecutive games to take the deciding set 7-5.

Here are some of the best stats from the stunning turnaround:

  • Pliskova won 25 of the last 33 points in the match, 11 of which were on Serena's serve.

  • Serena's loss snapped her 14-match win streak in Grand Slam quarterfinals.

  • It was Serena's third loss at a major after having at least one match point.

  • Pliskova joined Venus Williams as the only player to beat Serena multiple times at a hard-court major.

READ MORE: Serena's loss to Pliskova: memorable comeback or great collapse?


Vegemite gives Maria a whack

One of the tournament's major sponsors, Vegemite -- an iconic Australian spread -- took a not-so-subtle dig at Maria Sharapova following her fourth-round loss.

The five-time Grand Slam champion fell to local hero Barty and was booed off Rod Laver Arena after locals became frustrated with Sharapova's shrieking, not to mention the fact that she took a seven-minute bathroom break after dropping the second set.

It was interesting to see this billboard erected the next day in Melbourne.


Changing of the guard? Well ... sort of

Frances Tiafoe. Lucas Pouille. Stefanos Tsitsipas. Danielle Collins. These aren't names you normally expect to see in contention deep at a major, but as we've seen in recent years, strange things can happen at the year's first Slam.

Combined, these four had won a grand total of one Australian Open match heading into 2019's tournament. By the end of it, they had 20 wins among them.

Tsitsipas was the man to knock out defending champion Roger Federer, but Tiafoe's run was arguably the most memorable. The 21-year-old American made a habit of marking each of his wins Down Under with a LeBron James-inspired celebration.

Collins also had a fast rise to prominence with wins over 14-seed Julia Goerges, 19-seed Caroline Garcia and world No. 2 Angelique Kerber. That's not bad for someone who entered the tournament with a Grand Slam record of 0-5.


Congratulations, Novak and Naomi

Without question, Djokovic has earned the unofficial title "Mayor of Melbourne" after winning a record-breaking seventh Australian Open crown and taking his career major haul to 15.

The Serbian tore Nadal apart 6-3, 6-2, 6-3 in a lopsided final. He now has a perfect 35 wins and zero losses as the No. 1 seed at Melbourne Park.

In the women's final, Osaka looked in control at a set and a break up before Kvitova stormed back to take the second set and force a decider. But Osaka composed herself to win the third set and the match 7-6(2), 5-7, 6-4.