US Open 2012 Men's Final: Keys for a Novak Djokovic Victory over Andy Murray
Murray has had a fantastic summer, but Djokovic has played in nine Grand Slam finals and is on his favorite surface.
The Serb is the reigning U.S. Open champion, and experience is certainly working on his side.
Here is what Djokovic must do in order to beat Murray at Flushing Meadows.
Punish a Slow Start
Murray has gotten off to lackluster starts in his last two matches, and if that is the case in the finals, Djokovic must ensure that this mistake does not go unpunished.
Murray dropped the first set then fell behind 5-1 to Marin Cilic in the second set before coming back and dominating the remainder of the match. He also lost the first set in his victory over Tomas Berdych.
Djokovic must recognize this pattern and not allow Murray to build momentum if the Scot once again performs poorly in the opening set.
If Murray starts slow, Djokovic must end the match quickly and not allow his opponent to climb back in the match as he has done throughout the tournament.
Let Experience Show
Djokovic has now been in the finals at the last three U.S. Opens.
He must make sure that his experience is a marked advantage in this match. Unforced errors will be extremely costly for the Serb.
Djokovic has made fewer unforced errors than his opponent in every match at the tournament thus far. If this is true in the finals, he will likely have his sixth major title.
If he can avoid making crucial mistakes, it will put the pressure on Murray to take risks in order to win points. As the less experienced player, Murray will likely lose many decisive points in these situations.
Who will win the U.S. Open?
Murray has built a reputation for being excellent in defensive positions, and Djokovic must keep the Scot on his heels.
While Murray is constantly capable of winning points while his opponent is attacking, the speed of the courts at Flushing Meadows benefits Djokovic.
The Serb has proven to be most dangerous on hard courts, and if he can push the pace, he stands a chance of overwhelming Murray.
Djokovic has long challenged Roger Federer as the world’s best player on hard courts, and he would certainly earn that title with his fifth victory at the U.S. or Australian Open, and his fourth in the last two years.
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