Novak Djokovic endured a fierce challenge to his Melbourne Park reign before overhauling Dominic Thiem 6-4 4-6 2-6 6-3 6-4 in a thriller on Sunday to clinch an eighth Australian Open crown and reclaim the world number one ranking.
Under siege for much of a riveting four-hour slog, the defending champion found himself behind after three sets for the first time in eight finals at Rod Laver Arena.
But as he so often does, the steely-eyed Serb found a way to win, defying a crowd that was shamelessly behind the underdog Austrian.
He captured the decisive break in the third game of the final set, then locked down the match to secure his 17th Grand Slam title as a tiring Thiem bowed out with guns blazing.
“This is definitely my favorite court, my favorite stadium in the world and I am blessed to hold this trophy again,” said Djokovic after being handed the Norman Brookes Challenge Cup by 2005 winner Marat Safin.