Novak Djokovic came on top of an intense battle of grit and resilience which lasted five sets against Dominic Thiem to take home his record eighth Australian Open title at the Rod Laver Arena on Sunday.

Trailing by one set to two, the world number two eventually won 6-4, 4-6, 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 against the youngster from Austria and extended his Grand Slam tally to 17 with only Rafael Nadal (19) and Roger Federer (20) ahead.

With the victory, Djokovic extends his unbeaten streak in 2020 to 13 matches and guarantees his return to the pole position in the ATP Rankings. He has also brought the head-to-head tally with Thiem to level at 4-4.

Leading 5-4 in the opening set, the Serbian broke his opponent for the second time of the day to go 1-0 up in the final. Thiem came back strongly in the following set and won six back-to-back games from 4-4 in the second set. He not only won it but went 4-0 up in the following set before pocketing it 6-2.

Meanwhile, Djokovic resorted to a medical time-out after the third set. He returned with his usual best after a patchy period which witnessed him struggling with his movement.

The 32-year-old broke Thiem in the eighth game to go 5-3 up in the fourth set. Serving, Djokovic closed the set with hold to love and brought himself right back in the match.

Djokovic won three games in a row in the final set to go 3-1 up. Though Thiem never gave up, his efforts caused little trouble against Djokovic’s approach as the latter went on to win the decider 6-4 to maintain his unbeaten streak in the final in Melbourne.

With 13 aces, the 26-year-old Austrian hit it four more than Djokovic. In terms of double faults and unforced errors both the players shared identical numbers at 5 and 57 respectively. Thiem hit 55 winners in comparison to his opponent’s 46.