Novak Djokovic vs. Andy Murray: Why the Djoker Will Prevail in an Epic Final

Timothy RappFeatured ColumnistSeptember 10, 2012

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 09:  Novak Djokovic of Serbia returns a shot during his men's singles semifinal match against David Ferrer of Spain on Day Fourteen of the 2012 US Open at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 9, 2012 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.  (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Will the men's game of tennis see four different winners in the Grand Slams for the first time since 2003? Or will Novak Djokovic win his fifth Grand Slam in the past two years with a victory on Monday night?

Much as I love the tennis that Andy Murray has played this year, I have to side with the latter occurrence happening. In what I think will be an epic, five-set match to remember, I expect Djokovic to simply outlast Murray in the end.

We can't really look to history to paint a clearer picture of this match. Djokovic leads the series 8-6 (6-5 on hard courts) and has knocked Murray out of two Grand Slams, but Murray has the most recent win between the two at the 2012 London Olympics.

Both have been excellent in 2012 as well. Murray has two tournament wins, highlighted by his gold medal. Djokovic has three tournament wins this year, including his second consecutive Australian Open title.

Everything suggests that this match is too close to call on paper. Even in intangibles, it's hard to distinguish between the two this season.

Murray proved at the Olympics he was capable of winning big matches. While it wasn't a Grand Slam, you have to think that big-tournament monkey is off his back. He looks like he is ready to enter the elite group in men's tennis that currently includes Djokovic, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.

But Djokovic absolutely demolished David Ferrer on Sunday after trailing 5-2 in the first set when the match was postponed on Sunday night. For my money, there isn't a player on the ATP Tour who is more resilient in a match.

Djokovic's consistency and ability to wear down an opponent in a long match is matched only by his ability to stave off defeat in the dire moments. Just when you think he has nothing left in the tank, he finds a respirator.

He's not as graceful as Federer or as quick as Nadal, but he is one of the best defensive players in the game, has a deadly return and boasts a versatile game. 

This is how I see this playing out: Murray will win the first set and look darn good doing it. We'll all be convinced this is his tournament. Murray will start out strongly in the second and the announcers will start writing Djokovic's U.S. Open eulogy, only for the Djoker to make his comeback.

He'll take the second set in a tiebreaker, reversing the match's momentum, and promptly cruise through the third. Now it is Murray who will appear to be toast.

But wait—in the fourth, Murray will show life. He'll battle, scrape and claw his way into the match and, in a shocking, back-and-forth set, he'll ultimately win in a second tiebreaker, sending the match to a climactic fifth set.

Both players will continue to battle, showing signs of exhaustion but an unbreakable will. Halfway through the set, Djokovic will finally get a break and steal the momentum once and for all. Murray will hold serve the rest of the way but won't have enough left to break Djokovic himself.

In the end, the Djoker's consistency, resiliency and defense will win the day. As you can tell, I'm pretty excited for this match.

Expect a classic.


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