Shanghai Masters 2012: Andy Murray Will Three-Peat by Toppling Novak Djokovic

Mike HoagCorrespondent IIOctober 13, 2012

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 10:  Andy Murray of Great Britain shakes hands with Novak Djokovic of Serbia following his victory in the men's singles final match on Day Fifteen of the 2012 US Open at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 10, 2012 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. Murray defeated Djokovic 7-6, 7-5, 2-6, 3-6, 6-2.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images

Andy Murray is fresh off beating the world’s No. 1-ranked tennis player, Roger Federer.

He’ll use that confidence to best the world’s No. 2-ranked Novak Djokovic at the Shanghai Masters final on Sunday.

It’s hard to deny that Murray has finally arrived at the top of the world’s tennis stage after rattling off huge performances in recent months.

In September, the English tennis star won the Olympic gold medal in front of his hometown crowd by besting Federer. He followed that performance by returning to the court with a U.S. Open Grand Slam victory over Djokovic in the finals.

It was his first Grand Slam win, and it couldn’t have come at more opportune time. A British player hadn’t won a men’s singles Grand Slam in 76 years.

Murray doesn’t seem to be satisfied with gold and his first Grand Slam title.

He’s playing like a man possessed and making a strong case for himself to climb the world rankings. A win over Djokovic in Shanghai will do nothing to hurt the chances of that happening.

The Serbian Djokovic is a former No. 1-ranked star that has fallen from grace in recent months. Still, he’s playing some of the best tennis in the world and will not go down without a fight in these finals.

He quickly fell to a two-set deficit at the U.S. Open but rallied back to force a fifth set before succumbing to Murray and conceding the title.

In the head-to-head history of these two great players, Djokovic holds a narrow 8-7 lead. However, on hard-court surfaces, on which this final will be played in Shanghai, the series is tied at 6-6.

Murray, the winner of the two previous Shanghai Masters tournaments, should be the underdog, as Djokovic is widely regarded as the better player. However, opportunity and fate have met in this mid-October for Murray to win his third consecutive appearance at Shanghai.

He’s returning serves at the highest level of his career and has the confidence needed to handle anything Djokovic can dish out at him.


Mike Hoag Jr. is a Breaking News Team writer with Bleacher Report and also covers the NFL and the Cleveland Browns for the site.