Andy Murray defeated Novak Djokovic for the U.S. Open crown last year and now the two foes are headed for a battle in the semifinals of the U.S. Open this year.
Both Murray and Djokovic defeated their respective foes, Michael Llodra and Ricardas Berankis, in the first round in straight sets. Murray won in 98 minutes, Djokovic did so in a mere 82 minutes. Both captured at least 30 more points than their opponents.
Llodra showed a spark against Murray in the second set on Wednesday, albeit for only a brief moment. The Frenchman went up 3-0 in the set, only to watch Murray win six of the next seven games and capture the set, 6-4. With the set tied at 3-3 in the seventh game, Llodra was up 40-love. All Murray did was come back and win the game.
There's no question that Murray's titles at the 2012 London Olympics and U.S. Open last year have boosted him. The 26-year-old was 37-7 with four singles titles in 2013 heading into the U.S. Open. That included a straight-sets victory over Djokovic at Wimbledon.
Djokovic, on the other hand, may not be playing his best tennis right now, but he's still one of the best players in the world. He has reached the semifinals or better in every major this year, including his victory over Murray at the Australian Open. In fact, he has reached the semifinals or better in every major since the 2010 French Open.
Even though Djokovic lost to Murray at Wimbledon, fell to Rafael Nadal at the Rogers Cup and was upset by John Isner at the Western & Southern Open, there is still plenty to fear when it comes to the 26-year-old Serb. If he gets it going, he can be downright scary.
It would add up to what would be a delightful semifinal clash at the 2013 U.S. Open.
Who would win if Murray and Djokovic met in the semifinals?
If such a matchup comes around, there are plenty of intriguing storylines. Murray will be defending his U.S. Open crown while Djokovic undoubtedly still remembers his straight-sets loss to Murray at Wimbledon. Djokovic is also probably still stinging from losing to Murray at the U.S. Open last year after capturing the Grand Slam in 2011.
We should be grateful to be witnessing an era of tennis in which players such as Djokovic and Murray face off in Grand Slams.
Enjoy it while it lasts. Of course, this could last for a long time.