Western & Southern Open 2013: Expect Novak Djokovic to Face Andy Murray in Final

Tim KeeneyContributor IAugust 15, 2013

Aug 14, 2013; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Novak Djokovic (SCG) plays in a match against Juan Monaco (ARG) (not pictured) at the Western & Southern Open at the Lindner Family Tennis Center. Mandatory Credit: Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports
Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports

Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray are on a collision course—again. 

The World No. 1 and 2 both strolled into the third round of the Western & Southern Open with relative easy wins on Wednesday, proving they are ready to bounce back after very different—but still disappointing—weeks in Montreal. 

We'll start with Djokovic. 

The 26-year-old Serb, who needs a tournament win in Cincinnati to complete the illusive "Career Golden Masters" (winning all nine World Tour Masters titles), got off to a rough start. 

Seemingly still feeling the effects of his championship loss to Rafael Nadal at the Rogers Cup last week, Djoker fell behind World No. 32 Juan Monaco, 4-5, in the opening set after leading 4-1. 

"Between 4-1 and 4-5 (first set), four quite bad games for me," Djokovic told Yahoo! Sports' Steve Keating. "I stopped moving my legs. I didn't really go for my shots.

"I let him kind of dictate the play and wait for his mistake, which was not the right tactics.

Still, he calmly kept his composure, won the next three games to take the set and routed Monaco in the second, 6-2. 

Murray, meanwhile, who was shockingly ousted in the third round of the Rogers Cup by Ernests Gulbis in his first tournament since winning Wimbledon, appeared to be ready to take his frustration out on poor Mikhail Youzhny. 

The Brit dissected Youzhny, 6-2, 6-3, in a swift 70 minutes. 

Granted, it still might be a little early to start talking about the final. 

Djokovic's path isn't too difficult, although a potential semifinal match against Juan Martin del Potro, who always plays Djoker tough, could prove tricky.

Murray's route is littered with a few more potential mines. After Julien Benneteau in the third round, he will likely face Tomas Berdych or Stanislas Wawrinka in the quarters and then Rafael Nadal, the winner of the Rogers Cup, or Roger Federer, who recently , in the semis. 

But with Djokovic and Murray, who are working on an increasingly heated rivalry and seemingly have a way of finding each in the big tournaments, it's never too early to talk about a potential meeting down the road.  

They've met twice at this particular final in 2008 and 2011, with Murray winning both. They've met in three of the past four major finals. They've met an astounding nine times since the start of 2012. 

Neither Djokovic nor Murray started their hard-court seasons in ideal fashion. But with the U.S. Open quickly approaching, each will be at the top of his game.

And when that happensas we've seen so often as of latethe only player capable of beating them is the other.