It’s Murray Vs Djokovic in the Australian Open final on Sunday, January 30, 2011.
Andy Murray beat David Ferrer in four sets to reach his second successive Australian Open final, to make a bid for his first ever Grand Slam title.
To analyze whether Murray can beat Djokovic, let’s take a look at their head to head record. The players have met 7 times in the past, and Djokovic leads 4-3.
The Scot and the Serbian met for the first time in October 2006, in the 3rd round of the Madrid Masters Series; Djokovic won the clay court match in 3 sets, 1-6, 7-5, 6-3.
Their next encounter came on a hard court, at the semi-finals at the Indian Wells Masters Series in March 2007, and Djokovic was once again the winner, this time by two straight sets, 6-2, 6-3.
The players again, two weeks later, at the Nasdaq-100 Masters Series in Miami, another semi final on a hard court that Djokovic won in straight sets, 6-1, 6-0.
A year later, in April 2008, Djokovic beat Murray in straight sets on clay, in the 3rd round of the Monte Carlo Masters Series, 6-0, 6-4.
Murray beat Djokovic for the first time, when he met the Serb three months later in July 2008, in the quarter-finals of the Rogers Cup, a hard court affair that 6-3, 7-6 in the Scot’s favour.
A month later, in another hard court match, in August 2008, Murray prevailed over his Serbian rival, by a score-line of 7-6, 7-6, in the final of the Cincinnati Masters.
Their next encounter was their last meeting with each other, in the final of the Nasdaq-100 Open in Miami. Murray settled scores for his loss to Djokovic at the same venue, in March 2007, by prevailing in straight sets, 6-2, 7-5.
Offhand, we can make the following observations
a. Two of Djokovic’s wins have come on clay courts.
b. On hard courts, Murray leads Djokovic 3-2.
c. Murray has won in the last 3 meetings between the two players.
d. The players have never met in a grand slam.
e. They have never played in a five-setter against each other.
Considering that the Australian Open is played on a hard surface, the playing area is unlikely to give either player any undue advantage over the other.
Let’s now consider the form of the players, en route to the final of the Australian Open. Djokovic has had an awesome run to the final, dropping just a solitary set to Ivan Dodig of Croatia, via a tie-breaker, in the second round. More importantly, two of his six victims were Berdych and Federer, in the quarter- and semi-finals, respectvely.
Murray also had an easy stroll up to the semi-finals, dropping a solitary set, in a tie-breaker, to his quarter-final opponent Dolgopolov. In the semi-final, he dropped the first set to Ferrer, before winning the next three, and the match.
Djokovic won his first and only major, the Australian Open, in 2008. So he already knows what it is to win a Grand Slam, against his Scottish rival who will be under pressure, as he bids to win his first.
His tough semi-final against Ferrer would have steeled Murray ahead of the final, ensuring that he shed any complacency. That said, for Murray to win – and he has the skills needed against a rival who doesn’t hold any terror for him – the Scotsman will first have to battle the demons in his own mind. Whether he manages to do that will be worth going miles to see.
About the Author (Author Profile)
Jinxatious is the Chief Editor of SportingAttitude.com
An avid writer, on an eclectic range of subjects, he brings to bear editorial experience garnered with a national newspaper in South-East Asia. He also has sportscasting experience, as a cricket commentator, and his passion for sport extends beyond Cricket, to Football, Tennis, and Olympic Sports.