The world No 1 prevailed 6-3 6-2 6-3 in their 53rd clash to continue his mastery over the Spaniard, having now topped Nadal in eight straight hard-court matches and in nine of their last 11 duels altogether.
When they met in the 2012 final, it lasted a record five hours, 53 minutes. Such was Djokovic‘s display Sunday that he saw off Nadal in little over two hours.
Now on 15 majors, Djokovic took sole possession of third place on the men’s all-time list, passing Pete Sampras.
Djokovic pulled to within two of Nadal and five of men’s leader Roger Federer.
The 31-year-old Serb is now also on course to complete the “Novak Slam”, winning four straight majors — for the second time.
The Serbian became the first man since Rod Laver in 1969 to land four straight, from 2015-2016.
The expectation had been that this would be another epic battle between the unstoppable force against the immovable object, but Djokovic had not read the script.
Nadal had failed to beat Djokovic on a hard court since 2013 and it showed as he made an inauspicious start with Djokovic racing out of the blocks, losing just one point on serve in a flawless display, wrapping up the set 6-3 after 36 minutes on Rod Laver Arena.
Nadal faced an uphill battle having previously come from a set down to beat Djokovic on three occasions, but never on a hardcourt, while the Serb had won 224 matches in majors and lost only five when winning the opening set.
The 31-year-old took a further stranglehold as some more phenomenal returning gave him a deserved breakthrough in the fifth game of the second set before consolidating it for a 4-2 lead after a lung-busting battle of a game.
Djokovic was handing out a hardcourt lesson to the ‘King of Clay’ and even though Nadal had improved, his opponent somehow stepped up another level with a break for 5-2 before serving out the set with a forehand winner and three aces.
But this point Djokovic had hit 23 winners and made four unforced errors, losing just six points on serve – four of those in one game, while Nadal’s task appeared even greater knowing the last time he came from two sets down to win was over a decade ago at Wimbledon in 2007 when he defeated Mikhail Youzhny in the last-16.
Djokovic sealed an early break for a 2-1 lead in the third before backing it up as 17-time major winner Nadal faced a straight sets defeat in the final of a Grand Slam for the first time in his career.
The Spaniard created his first break point of the final in the sixth game but netted his backhand return. He continued to fight tooth and nail to stay in touch, but Djokovic was proving a class apart and it wasn’t long before he wrapped up the win with his second championship point when, aptly, Nadal missed once more with a forehand.
Nadal paid tribute to Djokovic, saying: “The first thing that I have to say is many congratulations to Novak, it was an amazing level of tennis tonight and these two weeks. Well done for everything.
“For me, it’s so important for me to be where I am today again coming back from injury. I really believe that I played a great two weeks of tennis. That’s going to be good energy, a good inspiration for what’s coming.
“I’m going to keep fighting hard, I’m going to keep working hard to be a better player. Sometimes this tournament has been tough for me, sometimes in terms of injuries and sometimes opponents, like tonight. I’m going to keep fighting to have better chances.”
— Slavisa Jokanovic (@Jokanovic) January 27, 2019