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Djokovic triumphs in Adelaide after saving championship point against Korda

Novak Djokovic was pushed to the brink by Sebastian Korda in the Adelaide International final, but the 21-time Grand Slam champion came up with exactly what he needed when it mattered most to begin his season with another title.

Djokovic fought off a championship point late in the second set and clawed back to prevail 6-7(8), 7-6(3), 6-4 after three hours and nine minutes on Sunday afternoon.

“It’s been an amazing week and you guys made it even more special,” the 35-year-old said during the trophy ceremony. “For me to be standing here is a gift, definitely. I gave it all today and throughout the week in order to be able to get my hands on the trophy.”

For a while it looked like Korda would be the one left standing with the biggest piece of hardware. The 22-year-old American took a dramatic first-set tiebreaker and then put himself within one point of the title when Djokovic was serving in the 12th game of set two. At 30-40, the world No. 5 seized control of the point with a strong serve and smashed an overhead to say alive. Djokovic dominated the ensuing tiebreaker and ended up earning a decisive break of serve in the final game of the match at 5-4 in the third.

“Amazing tournament; amazing effort today,” the top seed told Korda. “I’d probably say that you were closer to victory today than I was. It was decided in one or two shots, one or two points. Tough luck today, but the future is bright for you, so just keep going, and you’re an amazing player. Well done.”

Both players will now head to Melbourne for the Australian Open, where Djokovic is the No. 4 seed thanks to Carlos Alcaraz’s withdrawal and Korda has guaranteed himself a seeded spot.

Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on Twitter at @Dimonator.