It is safe to say that the last fortnight of tennis has absolutely flown by!! It is sad to think that with this preview, the Australian Open is coming to a close. A big thank you to everyone who has read the previews, and interacted with me on Twitter, both the good and the bad!
I hope you have enjoyed the last fortnight as much as I have. Let me know what you’ve thought about it!
Novak Djokovic vs Andy Murray
Review of Round 1 Matches
|Player (Opponent)||Novak Djokovic (vs Paul-Henri Mathieu)||Andy Murray (vs Robin Haase)|
|Score||6-2 6-4 7-5||6-3 6-1 6-3|
|Time on Court||102 minutes||97 minutes|
|1st Serves in||49/77 (64%)||54/74 (73%)|
|1st Serves pts won||41/49 (84%)||39/54 (72%)|
|2nd Serve pts won||21/28 (75%)||10/20 (50%)|
|Break pts saved||3/3 (100%)||5/7 (71%)|
|Break points won||4/7 (57%)||8/13 (62%)|
Review of Round 2 Matches
|Player (Opponent)||Novak Djokovic (vs Ryan Harrison)||Andy Murray (vs Joao Sousa)|
|Score||6-1 6-2 6-3||6-2 6-2 6-4|
|Time on Court||91 minutes||101 minutes|
|1st Serves in||41/56 (73%)||45/77 (58%)|
|1st Serves pts won||35/41 (85%)||36/45 (80%)|
|2nd Serve pts won||13/15 (87%)||21/32 (66%)|
|Break pts saved||0/0||0/0|
|Break points won||6/13 (46%)||5/8 (63%)|
Review of Round 3 Matches
|Player (Opponent)||Novak Djokovic (vs Radek Stepanek)||Andy Murray (vs Ricardis Berankis)|
|Score||6-4 6-3 7-5||6-3 6-4 7-5|
|Time on Court||142 minutes||132 minutes|
|1st Serves in||56/85 (66%)||77/114 (68%)|
|1st Serves pts won||48/56 (86%)||55/77 (71%)|
|2nd Serve pts won||19/29 (66%)||14/37 (38%)|
|Break pts saved||2/2 (100%)||9/12 (75%)|
|Break points won||3/11 (27%)||6/13 (46%)|
Review of Round 4 Matches
|Player (Opponent)||Novak Djokovic (vs Stan Wawrinka)||Andy Murray (vs Gilles Simon)|
|Score||1-6 7-5 6-4 6-7 12-10||6-3 6-1 6-3|
|Time on Court||302 minutes||95 minutes|
|1st Serves in||129/195 (66%)||39/63 (62%)|
|1st Serves pts won||92/129 (71%)||30/39 (77%)|
|2nd Serve pts won||36/66 (55%)||14/24 (58%)|
|Break pts saved||11/18 (61%)||0/2 (0%)|
|Break points won||7/15 (47%)||8/15 (53%)|
Review of Round Quarter Final Matches
|Player (Opponent)||Novak Djokovic (vs Tomas Berdych)||Andy Murray (vs Jeremy Chardy)|
|Score||6-1 4-6 6-1 6-4||6-4 6-1 6-2|
|Time on Court||151 minutes||111 minutes|
|1st Serves in||65/97 (67%)||51/75|
|1st Serves pts won||51/65 (78%)||41/51 (80%)|
|2nd Serve pts won||20/32 (63%)||7/24 (29%)|
|Break pts saved||3/4 (75%)||3/5 (60%)|
|Break points won||6/14 (43%)||8/11 (73%)|
Review of Round Semi Final Matches
|Player (Opponent)||Novak Djokovic (vs David Ferrer)||Andy Murray (vs Roger Federer)|
|Score||6-2 6-2 6-1||6-4 6-7 6-3 6-7 6-2|
|Time on Court||89 minutes||240 minutes|
|1st Serves in||32/51 (63%)||100/157 (64%)|
|1st Serves pts won||29/32 (91%)||75/100 (75%)|
|2nd Serve pts won||15/19 (79%)||36/57 (63%)|
|Break pts saved||0/0||4/6 (67%)|
|Break points won||7/7 (100%)||6/16 (38%)|
Summary: If the US Open final is anything to go by, we are in for an absolute classic tonight at Rod Laver Arena. A few years back it was all about Federer and Nadal, but we are starting to see the changing of the guard. It is very quickly becoming the marquee matchup, and for anyone who witnessed or has seen highlights of the Flushing Meadows match you can easily see why this is the case!
Murray and Djokovic are two of the most evenly matched players on tour. At this point in there careers, neither have a noticeable weakness that can be targeted regularly. Like all players they can go through patches with the quality of their groundstrokes, but overall they are both incredibly fit, and very technically sound.
Djokovic leads 10-7 (8-5 in completed hardcourt matches).
If we want to be more specific and focus in on the last 2 years, Djokovic leads 6-3, with that recording becoming 5-2 on hardcourt. Their last three meetings have all gone the distance, with the match at Flushing Meadows going 5 sets (and almost 5 hours) and Shanghai and London both going to 3 sets.
Generally you can at least take something from the previous grand slam meeting between two players. By way of skill and how they play, you really cannot in this instance. The freakish conditions which came about will not be experienced tomorrow. You could tell all throughout the match that Andy adapted to the conditions better than Novak. Although nothing can be taken from the match in a physical sense,
Trends from previous meetings
I figured it was best to focus in on a few trends I have noticed when looking back at the previous hardcourt meetings of these two:
- Novak is 7-0 when winning over 68% of points on his first serve for the match
- Novak is 8-2 when winning over 44% of points on his 2nd serve for the match
- Djokovic is 4-0 when saving over 56% of break points for the match
- Djokovic is 6-2 in matches that have gone over 2 hours
- Djokovic is 5-1 when over 4.8% of his serves are aces
- Murray is 4-0 when he doesn’t serve a double fault
This guy continues to amaze me. A few years back I really had my doubts surrounding Novak and his ability to go the distance in big matches. How much has changed since then! His endurance is possibly unmatched on tour at present. He may start to sound and look as though he is about to go down in a screaming heap, but he just fights and fights and fights.
Saving match points vs Federer at the US Open in 2011, coming back from 2 sets to 1 (with breathing issues) to defeat Murray in the Semi Final here last year, then fighting back from 2- 4 in the 5th set vs Nadal in the final. Never count Djokovic out…..ever.
Andy Murray has really impressed me over the last 12-18 months. It appears as though he has finally overcome that mental hurdle that was preventing him from being one of the greats of the game. As I said prior to the tournament, it isn’t often that a professional sportsman uses winning an Olympic gold medal as the catalyst for taking their career to the next level. It is safe to say that Murray did just that, using the confidence gained from London the then go on and break his Grand Slam duck.
Slightly overcast here in Melbourne at the moment. No rain on the radar so I am anticipating the roof to be open, with wind being a minimal issues.
The Final Word
I’ve been waiting 2 weeks for this final match, and it truly will be a test to see how far Andy Murray has come in the last year.
While I understand a lot of the talk about Andy winning the US Open will hold him in great stead here, I think you need to be realistic about what went on that tournament. As I mentioned above, that was one of the strangest tournaments in terms of the weather you will come across. While it was a big mental hurdle to overcome, that is about all you can take from the actual matchup.
Something that troubled me with Andy was his inability to serve out the match vs Federer in the 4th set. It isn’t something you want to see, and is something that may even give Djokovic a little bit of extra confidence (not that he needs any!).
If you haven’t picked up on it already, I like Novak tonight. It is in no way the strongest play of the tournament, because these two guys are just that good! If I had to give an exact prediction here, I would take Djokovic to win in 4 sets. Don’t get me wrong though, almost every set between these two guys of late has been close.
The top three outcomes I predict to happen for tonight would be Novak in 4, Novak in 5, and Murray in 5. As a result, the bet suggested below to me stood out as the best option to take. It covers all those options in the majority of scenarios, and a couple of others if things go our way.
Djokovic over 20.5 games should cover the majority of the situations I think should happen tonight.
Suggested Bet: Novak Djokovic to over 20.5 games at $1.80 at Sportsbet
Photo By Christopher Johnson (globalite) (originally posted to Flickr as IMG_9961_2) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons