Australian Open final preview and prediction: Djokovic vs. Murray

It will be the fourth Australian Open final between Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray when the top two players in the world battle for the title on Sunday. Murray is coming off a five-setter against Milos Raonic and will have enjoyed one fewer day of rest when they take the court.

Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray will be squaring off for the 31st time in their careers when they contest a rematch of the 2015 Australian Open final on Sunday night. Djokovic is dominating the head-to-head series 21-9 after taking 10 of their last 11 encounters. They most recently faced each other in the Paris Masters title match last fall, when the Serb cruised 6-2, 6-4.

Djokovic is 4-0 lifetime against Murray in Melbourne. The world No. 1 triumphed 7-6(5), 6-7(4), 6-3, 6-0 last year on the heels of victories in 2011 (straight sets in the final), 2012 (five sets in the semis), and 2013 (four sets in the final).
Djoker 1
Murray will get another shot at his heavily-favored opponent, but not before a five-set scare during semifinal action on Friday. The world No. 2 trailed Milos Raonic two sets to one before recovering to beat a hobbled Canadian 4-6, 7-5, 6-7(4), 6-4, 6-2 in four hours and three minutes. Murray preceded that triumph with defeats of Alexander Zverev, Sam Groth, Joao Sousa, Bernard Tomic, and David Ferrer, while dropping second sets to Sousa and Ferrer along the way.

Djokovic also endured one five-setter en route to championship Sunday, and he did so in far more shocking fashion than Murray. The top seed sprayed a ridiculous 100 unforced errors but managed to survive a third-round test against Gilles Simon 6-3, 6-7(1), 6-4, 4-6, 6-3. Djokovic also boasts wins over Hyeon Chung, Quentin Halys, Andreas Seppi, Kei Nishikori, and Roger Federer. The 10-time major champion was especially ruthless in sets one and two of his 6-1, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 decision against Federer on Thursday night.

“Against Roger, these first two sets have been probably the best two sets I’ve played against him overall I think throughout my career,” Djokovic assessed. “I’ve had some moments against him in sets where I’ve played on a high level, but this was…yeah…I think a different level than from before.”

A different level is exactly what Djokovic has been on from everyone else on tour over the last year and a half. He went 82-6 last season, reached the final of all but one tournament, and captured 11 titles–three of the slam variety. So far this year Djokovic is 11-0 with a winner’s trophy in Doha to his credit.

Still, Murray insists he has a chance in this one.

“The most important thing for me is to sustain my level for long enough, not just for one set here or there, a few games here or there,” the underdog explained. “I need to do it for a very long period if I want to get the win. That’s my challenge. I’ve obviously played very good tennis here. I’ve given myself many opportunities, [reaching] the finals (four times); seven straight quarterfinals, as well. I have a very good shot on Sunday if I play my best tennis.”
But can he play his best tennis for what will likely be–if he is going to prevail–five sets? In Djokovic’s two major victories over the Scot in 2015, he won the deciding sets 6-0 (Australian Open final) and 6-1 (French Open semis). Djokovic also swept Murray 6-0 in the third set of their Miami title match.

Perhaps one thing the second seed has going for him is that he is essentially a rich man’s Simon, and it is Simon who has given Djokovic by far his toughest match of the tournament. Most of Djokovic’s wounds were recorded as self-inflicted ones, but the Frenchman played his part by forcing his opponent to hit an incredible amount of balls. Murray will do the same–at least until he runs out of gas. Look for Murray to once again stay competitive early before Djokovic powers his way to a sixth Aussie Open title.

Pick: Djokovic in 4

37 Comments on Australian Open final preview and prediction: Djokovic vs. Murray

  1. 🙁 SO Rafa did finally get the wooden spoon Nadal lost to Verdasco lost to Sela lost to Kuznetsov lost to Monfils lost to Raonic lost to Murray lost to Djokovic

    • “Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength.” – Javier Marti

      “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” – Winston Churchill“

  2. dedicated to nadline.

    do you know why novak is so successful and nadal is not? novak is not afraid to show his biological passport.

  3. This oxygen therapy is not illegal according to Wada.
    It can’t be too wonderful if Mike Bryan and bethany sands are using it and not winning anything

  4. I would hope that we can finally clear up any insinuations about hyperbaric oxygen therapy. I mentioned previously that I went to a physical therapy facility that has it and was told that professional athletes use it frequently.

    It’s been clarified here already that it’s legal. I am not sure why it should be brought up in connection with Novak again.

    • It’s legal in the USA and Australia. Not in Europe. And yes, athletes do use it because it hasn’t been banned yet. But there is a cloud over whether it should be used in sports. This is because it supplements high altitude physical training and speeds or rather facilitates natural recovery in a somewhat simulated manner. If it is indeed not a problem I see no harm in the ATP making this facility available to players ranked lower. Then it is their call if the treatment suits them. But it’ll level the playing field.

    • AT 2:43 AM
      — I am not sure why it should be brought up in connection with Novak again.—
      He has a connection.

  5. it’s banned in Europe…I wonder if that’s the reason why Novak can’t win RG where the matches are most demanding physically…it seems he obviously got used to it too much and runs into problems if it’s not available…interesting…

  6. @ augusta 6:40 PM,

    Stan Wawrinka beat “unbeatable” Nole in the RG? How was that possible when the guy was able to win all other GSs? Mainly because the RG matches are taxing on Novak’s body and unfortunately the famous egg is forbidden in Europe…

    When Nole was on the run in 2011 beating Rafa and doing huge damage to Rafa’s confidence he still lost in the semis to whom???- Maestro himself not Rafa…When Rafa beat Nole in the RG 2014 Nole’s fans were saying that it was due to Nole’s health issues (throwing up, feeling dizzy, being weak, etc.)…blablabla..

    So I am more inclined to think that Novak may never be able to win it because he is so dependent on his precious egg for recovery that he obviously runs into problems when it’s not at his disposal…

    Hope Rafa takes a note…it’s enough for Rafa to take him to five sets…

    • My intention in the above post was to refer back to augusta saying:

      “I will answer the question myself since nobody dares saying it…” 🙂

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