Never before in the Open era has the same man won three Australian Opens in succession. Yet, never before has a player followed up winning his first ever Slam by taking the very next. Whilst it’s Novak Djokovic who is looking to achieve the former of those two feats, there’s little question that having won Olympic Gold and the US Open, Andy Murray will be equally confident of taking a second consecutive Slam.
In the fourth round, things started to go a little awry. Stanislaus Warwrinka can at times look like a lumbering veteran but when he’s on top of his game, the Swiss No. 2 can play as well as the best on the planet.As we predicted, Novak Djokovic moved coolly through the opening rounds, like a man who knew he was destined for the final, no matter what.
Warwrinka played some assured tennis to take the opening set and serving at 5-4 and 30-0 in the second, it looked as if a shock could be on the cards.
The Serbian just refuses to accept when he is beaten and after bouncing back to take the second and third sets, it was a bit surprising to see Warwrinka to come storming back and take the match to a decider. With both men holding onto their serve impressively, there probably weren’t many who believed that Stan could do it, even at 10-10. Ultimately, maybe even Stan himself didn’t quite have the belief himself and Novak yet again came back from the brink to book a spot in the last eight.
Following a fairly straight forward, four sets victory over Berdych in the quarters, Djokovic was the big favourite to defeat David Ferrer in the semis. What wasn’t expected was how well Djokovic would play to earn the victory in less than two hours.
The world No. 1 was simply awesome throughout and won double points of his Spanish opponent.
Having won all three of his previous finals here in Melbourne, it’ll be a tough task for anyone to overcome the Super Serb in Sunday’s showdown, and the tennis odds are clearly in his favor.
Following many years of being the ‘nearly man’ of tennis, Andy Murray seems to be finally fulfilling his great potential. British tennis fans had got so used to seeing top players come along, promising plenty and never truly delivering, but now they appear to have the real deal in the shape of Andy Murray.
Murray won the last Grand Slam of 2012 with victory over Djokovic in the US Open final. That Grand Slam can never be taken away from him but the step from being a Grand Slam winner to a multiple Grand Slam winner can often be equally as difficult. Success here at the Australian Open will confirm Murray as one of the greatest men to have played the game and the Scot will be relishing the opportunity that lies ahead of him this weekend.
There have been a few raised eyebrows at the quality of players Murray came up against across this tournament. Before his semi-final encounter with Roger Federer, Murray had barely broken a sweat following a string of wins against players who, in the main, have never troubled the world’s top 20.
That said, you can only defeat the players that are put on the other side of the net and Murray has done that in style throughout; never once allowing his concentration to slip or letting complacency set in.
In Friday’s semi-final with Roger Federer, Murray showed he could roll his sleeves up and fight, as well as turn on the style.
The Scot had never beaten the Swiss at a Grand Slam and when Roger Federer saved the fourth set from the brink, the signs were that he would go on to book his place in the final. However, just as in the New York final last September, Murray recovered from the loss of a seemingly decisive fourth set to romp home in the fifth.
Novak Djokovic v Andy Murray looks set to be THE battle of the 2013 season. Having booked their places in a second successive Grand Slam final, this pair are now looking like the best two players in the world.
Novak Djokovic currently leads the head-to-head battle, 10-7, and he has won their last two meetings in Shanghai and London.
Of course it was Murray who won their last Grand Slam battle in New York and that should increase the Scot’s belief as he comes into this one.
I had backed Djokovic with my tennis betting picks to win this one from the outset and other than the tough battle with Warwrinka; the Serb has been in majestic form throughout.
This is a repeat of the 2011 Australian Open final, which Djokovic won in straight sets, and judging by his performance in the semis he’s looking ready to produce a similar performance again.
As always, the start will be crucial. Djokovic allowed himself to fall two sets behind in the US Open final and for once left himself just a little bit too much to do. He needs to come out full of confidence, right from the very start, and try to impose himself on this match. If Djokovic can take the first set, I believe he has the ability to pull clear and win this one with something to spare. If Murray takes the first set we could be in for another long night in Melbourne.
Novak Djokovic to win - 4/7 William HillDjokovic to win 3-0 – 3/1 - BlueSQ