MELBOURNE -- Novak Djokovic rallied from a one-set deficit to defeat Austria's Dominic Thiem 6-4, 4-6, 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 on Sunday, Feb. 2, in Melbourne and capture his eighth Australian Open title -- and second in a row.

Djokovic, the second-seeded Serbian, prevailed in the epic three-hour and 59-minute battle to earn his 17th Grand Slam trophy overall and guarantee his return to No. 1 in the FedEx ATP Rankings. Only Switzerland's Roger Federer (20) and Spain's Rafael Nadal (19) have won more major singles titles.

"I would like to start by saying congratulations to Dominic for an amazing tournament," Djokovic said during his on-court interview following the match. "It wasn't meant to be tonight. Tough luck and it was a tough match, but you were very close to winning it and you definitely have a lot more time in your career and I'm sure that you will get one of the Grand Slam trophies. More than one."

Thiem, seeded fifth and trying to become the first Austrian to capture the title, proved to be a tough test for 32-year-old Djokovic, who lost six games in a row in one stretch to Thiem.

Down two sets to one, Djokovic was visited by a doctor and trainer in the third set and was seen guzzling bottles of water and an energy drink. Tensions ran high as he lectured the chair umpire about time violations.

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Djokovic broke to lead 5-3 in the fourth set and also capitalized on an early service break in the deciding set. Djokovic, who won 33 of 38 first-service points in the fourth and fifth sets, also saved two break points at 2-1 in the fifth set.

Overall, Djokovic won 24 of his 29 points at the net and hit 46 winners, including nine aces.

Thiem won 29 of 134 points on his return of serve and committed 57 unforced errors, the same number as Djokovic. Both players also hit five double faults.

"This tournament sets a high standard for all the other tournaments around the world and it's definitely my favorite court, my favorite stadium in the world," said Djokovic. "I'm blessed to hold this trophy once again."

Djokovic also won the Australian Open title in 2008, 2011-13, 2015-16 and 2019. His Grand Slam resume also includes five Wimbledon titles (2011, 2014-15, 2018-19), three U.S. Open wins (2011, 2015, 2018) and one at Rolland Garros (2016). The Big 3 -- Djokovic, Federer and Nadal -- have won 13 consecutive major titles and 56 of the last 67. The win also made Djokovic the first man in the Open era to win a major in three different decades -- the 2000s, 2010s and 2020s.

"Amazing achievement. Unreal what you're doing throughout all these years," said Thiem, who is 0-3 in major finals after also losing the last two years in the finals at Roland Garros. "You and also two other guys, I think you brought men's tennis to a complete new level. I'm proud and happy I can compete in these times and this period of tennis. I fell a little bit short today, but I hope I can get, soon, revenge."