Novak Djokovic vs. Andy Murray: Highlighting Keys to US Open 2012 Men's Final

Patrick Clarke@@_Pat_ClarkeCorrespondent ISeptember 9, 2012

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 09:  Novak Djokovic of Serbia celebrates match point 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 Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

The U.S. Open 2012 men's final is set for Monday afternoon in Flushing Meadows, New York.

It will be defending U.S. Open champion Novak Djokovic taking on the reigning Olympic men's gold medalist, Andy Murray.

While No. 2-seeded Djokovic is looking to win his sixth career Grand Slam tournament, No. 3-seeded Murray is looking to win his first. Both players are 25 and in their absolute primes. 

Monday's matchup promises to thrill but will prove nearly impossible to predict. 

Let's highlight some keys to Monday's men's final match in Queens. 



In a match between two of the world's best tennis players, stamina is vital to determining a winner. Andy Murray will have the benefit of an extra day off after his semifinal win over Tomas Berdych on Saturday.

Meanwhile, Novak Djokovic will have to come right back after playing four sets against David Ferrer on Sunday to attempt to win his second straight U.S. Open title. 

The good news for Nole is that he dealt with Ferrer quickly on Sunday, dropping the final game of the first set and then going on a tear, defeating the Spaniard in four quick sets.


Hustle Points

Both Murray and Djokovic are known for their hustle and fight on the tennis court. Neither competitor is willing to give away a point, which is why hustle points will be so key in deciding the outcome of the men's final on Monday.

Djokovic is renowned for his ability to extend on what often look to be lost points. His flexibility and speedy recovery time on the hard court allow him to fight off his opponent's assault and break his spirit by surviving intense rallies.

I'll take Djokovic to edge Murray in terms of hustle points for the aforementioned reasons. Still, there are few better than Murray at returning powerful serves and earning clutch breaks. 


Mental Toughness

For both players on Monday, mental toughness will dictate how the match plays out and who emerges from the year's final Grand Slam as a champion.

For Murray, the doubt about never having won a major tournament must not enter his mind. The Scotsman has played in four Grand Slam finals during his career but lost all four, including the final of the 2008 U.S. Open against Roger Federer.

Djokovic must come out with an edge and a must-win mentality. He came out extremely focused and tuned in on Sunday against Ferrer, and he won easily. If he comes out looking flat, he will be in a world of trouble going up against an elite player in Murray. 

I believe Djokovic will come out with a chip on his shoulder after losing to Murray in the semifinals at the Olympic Games earlier this summer.

I picked the Djoker to win before the tournament began two weeks ago, and I'm sticking with him on Monday. He may not be as rested as Murray, but he will score more hustle points and prove to be mentally tougher.


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