The 2012 U.S. Open final is here.
We've got everything you need to know about the men's final, including start time, analysis, the road to the final and more, as well as last-minute predictions for the big match itself.
Date: Monday, September 10, 2012
Start Time: 4 p.m. ET
Venue: Arthur Ashe Stadium, Flushing, N.Y.
The Road to the Final: Novak Djokovic
Novak Djokovic entered the 2012 U.S. Open as the No. 2 seed, and given that Rafael Nadal had withdrawn from competition, the Serbian international had an excellent chance to add to his growing Grand Slam collection.
He comfortably disposed of Paolo Lorenzi, Rogerio Dutra Silva and Julien Benneteau in the opening few rounds of the tournament, with his first real test coming against Swiss international Stanislas Wawrinka in the fourth round—a match that Djokovic would win in straight sets.
Djokovic then faced No. 7 seed Juan Martin Del Potro in the quarterfinals—winning through in straight sets again and setting up a semifinal showdown with David Ferrer.
The Spaniard was dominating early in their clash to progress through to the final—leading 5-2 in the opening set—when bad weather forced an end to the day's play. And whilst they would return the following day and Ferrer would take the first set 6-2, it was clear that the day's rest had allowed the Serbian international to find his groove once more, and he would run out a 2-6, 6-1, 6-4, 6-2 winner in the end.
Novak Djokovic was then through to the 2012 U.S. Open final.
The Road to the Final: Andy Murray
Still chasing his maiden Grand Slam victory, Andy Murray entered the 2012 U.S. Open full of confidence after clinching the gold medal at the 2012 London Olympics in front of his home crowd.
Like Djokovic, Murray too disposed of his early-round competitors in straight sets, but he faced a real fight against Feliciano Lopez in just the third round of the tournament—earning a very hard-fought victory over the Spaniard, 7-6, 7-6, 4-6, 7-6.
That tough win seemed to further increase the Great Britain international's self-belief—picking up a win in straight sets over Milos Raonic in the fourth round as well as a relatively comfortable four-set victory over Marin Cilic in the quarterfinals.
Like Djokovic once more, Murray's semifinal was also dominated by poor weather, with him and Tomas Berdych forced to do battle despite the presence of an incredibly strong wind. The weather did force both players to play poorly, but it was Murray who handled the conditions better to book his place in the final of the U.S. Open—winning 5-7, 6-2, 6-1, 7-6.
What They're Saying
Novak Djokovic will enter the final as the favorite to clinch the title, but don't try telling that to the man himself, who stated via the Los Angeles Times that he thinks there is no favorite and that Murray is one of the toughest men to beat in world tennis:
I don't think there's any clear favorite. [Murray is] looking for his first Grand Slam title—I'm sure he's going to be very motivated. Hopefully we can both come up with our best tennis for the crowd.
Only small margins will decide the winner...
Murray too was quoted by the Los Angeles Times about his desire to clinch his maiden Grand Slam trophy—a stigma that seemingly follows him at every major tournament that he takes part in:
It's the last thing that I really want to achieve in my career—it's obviously very important for me.
Winning the Olympics does take a bit of the pressure off. I feel a lot better after that. Maybe I have fewer doubts about myself and my place in the game just now.
It wouldn't be easy to lose another [Grand] Slam final. I hope this one is a different story...
Three Stats to Ponder
1. Novak Djokovic has the best record on hardcourt in 2012—winning 35 matches with just three losses. Andy Murray has the fifth best, with 25 wins and five losses.
2. Novak Djokovic has spent significantly less time on the court at the U.S. Open so far. Murray has spent 16 hours and 57 minutes whilst Djokovic has spent just 11 hours and 40 minutes—a difference of five hours and 17 minutes. That's the equivalence of a five-set thriller.
3. Against players inside the top 10 in world tennis, Andy Murray has won five of his past six matches—his only loss coming against Roger Federer at the 2012 Wimbledon final.
Statistics courtesy of the The Guardian
Every time Andy Murray gets to a Grand Slam final, something in me wants to suggest that he'll win and finally shake off the burden that is currently weighing him down.
But every single time, I look at his opponent, and I simply cannot see Murray beating him, and the same thing is existent here this time around.
Noval Djokovic was simply superb in the final three sets against David Ferrer, and whilst Murray will provide much stiffer competition than the Spanish international, it's hard to not see the Serbian triumphing over the Brit here in this one.
I think the fact that Murray has been out on court for 317 minutes longer than Djokovic so far in the tournament will be a factor, whether we notice it too much or not. Novak is simply superb in big matches—as he's proven throughout his career—and I think that he'll have too much for Murray again in the 2012 U.S. Open final.
Murray will keep it close early but fall short; Djokovic will pull away in the second; and whilst Murray will come back in the third, he won't be able to stop Nole from recording another Grand Slam victory.
Novak Djokovic wins, 7-5, 6-3, 7-6.
What do you think will happen in the men's 2012 U.S. Open final?
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