Davydenko—Djokovic: An Unexpected Finish To an Expected Start

Rohini IyerSenior Writer INovember 15, 2008

The Shanghai Masters 2008, in its meandering course, has taken such a turn of events that would baffle even the punters of the game.

The defending champion and the favourite among the crowd, Roger Federer, was the one who was expected to win the Masters Cup. Its a very well known fact that Federer loves this part of the touring season, perhaps only second to Wimbledon.

But with Federer's dramatic ouster in the Round Robin, the arrow started roving in the direction of Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic.

Anticipation started once again. Only this time, the predicted finalists were different. Had it been true, one would have got see a replica of the Cincinnati Masters 2008.

However, "man proposes, God disposes." Although Novak reached the finals after a gruelling match with Simon, Murray on the other hand seemed a bit sore after his three-hour long quelling battle with Federer.

Murray played valiantly but wasn't that gallant to finish Davydenko like he did with Federer. Though he matched Davydenko, shot for shot and rally for rally in the first set, his energy started sapping in the second. Davydenko, realizing this, broke Murray twice in the second set and rode comfortably home.

At the start of the tourney, not many people could have predicted such a final. It is so ironic that both the finalists this year have had a turbulent year.

In regard to the Masters cup, although Djokovic reached the qualifiers last year, he ended up losing all his Round Robin matches and quite similar is the case with Davydenko.

Of the four Masters cups that he has qualified for, he has managed to reach the Semifinals only once, in 2005.

These two have met each other twice before, the most recent one being the Round Robin of this year's cup, which Davydenko lost in a three setter while overall their head-to-head is one match all.

As their game kicks off on Sunday afternoon, it will be an interesting affair after the drama that unfolded on late Friday evening.

Both these players know how vital it will be to win this tournament, and both are so well matched that it becomes all the more difficult to predict the winner. Calm, cool and composed Davydenko squaring against a charged and power-packed Djokovic.

So, until the actual result, I guess for once it would be right to say, "May the best man win!"