Djokovic vs. Murray: Set-by-Set Predictions for Grand Slam Title Matchup

Benjamin Klein@BenjaminJKleinContributor IIIJuly 7, 2013

Jul 5, 2013; London, United Kingdom;  Andy Murray (GBR) celebrates recording match point during his match against Jerzy Janowicz (POL) (not pictured) on day 11 of the 2013 Wimbledon Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis Club. Murray won 6-7, (2-7), 6-4, 6-4, 6-3. Mandatory Credit: Susan Mullane-USA TODAY Sports
Susan Mullane-USA TODAY Sports

The title match on Sunday for the Wimbledon crown between Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray is going to be one for the ages.

The top two seeds in the world have had different, yet exciting, routes to the championship match, and either would be a worthy champion. Murray is seeking the second Grand Slam victory of his career and the second Grand Slam victory against Djokovic—defeating him in the title match last year at the U.S. Open.

Djokovic, on the other hand, is looking to win the seventh Grand Slam of his career and his second at Wimbledon. His last victory at the third major tournament came back in 2011. He defeated Murray in the Australian Open earlier this year and holds an 11-7 head-to-head advantage over the hometown hero.

So, will it be the No. 1 or No. 2 player in the world winning the title on Sunday? Here’s a prediction of how each set is going to play out, with statistics as to how each finalist has played every set throughout their respective runs at the All England Club over the last few weeks.


First Set

Djokovic has been very impressive in the opening set in each of his matches through this point in the tournament. He has yet to drop the first set, but some have been close, as he averages four-game losses per first set. He’ll have to be great in order to gain an early advantage over Murray.

Murray, on the other hand, hasn’t been sharp in the first set. He dropped the first set in the quarterfinals against Fernando Verdasco and semifinals against Jerzy Janowicz. While he’s been able to bounce back, it’ll be very difficult to do so against Djokovic when the title is on the line.

In the first set on Sunday, expect Djokovic to start off hot. His serve will be perfect, and he’ll win at least one of the return games as well. Murray will commit several unforced errors that will put him at a major disadvantage going forward. It wouldn’t be surprising if Murray only won two games to start the championship match.

Prediction: Djokovic over Murray


Second Set

The second set hasn’t been very kind to the No. 2 player in the world either. In fact, he’s been just as ineffective in the second set as he has been in the first. Murray has won 56.7 percent of second-set games, the main problem being that he dropped the second set in the quarterfinals and won in a tiebreak in the fourth round.

Djokovic has played worse in the second set than in the any of the opening three, winning just 59.3 percent of the games. He most recently dropped the second set in the semifinals to Juan Martin del Potro, which was the first time at the All England Club that he didn’t win one of the sets.

On Sunday, expect to see a closer set than the first, but Djokovic will still come out with the victory. Murray will be much more efficient and won’t be making many errors. Nearly every point that Djokovic wins, he’ll have earned. It won’t be a cheap win for the top-ranked player in the world. Djokovic will take a 2-0 set lead.

Prediction: Djokovic over Murray


Third Set

The third set has been where Murray tends to barrel down and give it his all. It’s the only set that he’s yet to lose in any of his matches at Wimbledon. He’s been forced to win seven games in the third on two occasions, but easily won in the fourth round and quarterfinals—where he needed to win to avoid elimination.

Djokovic has been solid in the third set as well, but Murray has been a bit better. The top player in the world has needed to win seven games in two of his last three matches, but has not lost the third set yet. In the third round against Tomas Berdych, Djokovic won the third by a score of 6-3 to take the match.

On the brink of elimination, Murray will play his best tennis of the day, down 2-0. The two will go back and forth, trading wins until a couple of unforced errors committed by Djokovic will give Murray the opportunity to force a fourth set. He’ll take full advantage of it and will win the third, 6-4.

Prediction: Murray over Djokovic


Fourth Set

Murray has been forced to play a fourth set in each of his last two matches. He needed to win the fourth in the quarterfinals in order to stay alive. Against Janowicz, he sealed the victory with a fourth-set win, after dropping the first. Murray has lost seven total fourth-set games between the two matches.

Djokovic has only played in the fourth once at the All England Club, coming in his most recent victory over del Potro. There, he had the opportunity to clinch a spot in the final, but dropped the set in a tiebreak. He had eight aces in the set, but that still wasn’t enough to avoid a fifth set.

A Grand Slam champion will be crowned in the fourth set. If you’ve been following along, that means that Djokovic is going to win. He’ll win the first couple of games to put a ton of pressure on Murray. Murray won’t be able to bounce back, as errors will end his title hopes. Djokovic will take the fourth set and win his seventh Grand Slam.

Prediction: Djokovic over Murray