Djokovic Trumps Murray For Fourth AO Title

Nole lifts AO13

Novak Djokovic beat Andy Murray to retain the Australian Open once again. His hat trick of titles here also made him a 6 time Grand Slam champion. By winning his fourth Aussie Open, he matched the feats of Roger Federer and Andre Agassi. In the end, it was a convincing victory for the Serbian as he won 6-7, 7-6, 6-3, 6-2.

It wasn’t the most thrilling final but compared to the error and break strewn women’s final yesterday, this was much better. Novak started off better and was constantly pushing Murray who didn’t have the same potency on his serve that he had in his semi against Federer. He fended off break points to force the tie breaker. Then against the momentum so far, he pretty much ran away with the breaker and took the opening set.

The Scot was in command now and the world number one was increasing getting frustrated. At one point, Djokovic even resorted to kicking a ball out of the court. Murray had multiple chances to break in the second game but Nole hung on. Both players held serve and the set went to a tie breaker. This time Djokovic led all the way and took it 7-3. The match was tied now.

During the sit down, Murray’s battered and blistered leg was shown. It wasn’t a pretty sight but it is a testament to his style of play. Novak stepped up his level and finally the first break of the match came after 2hours and 50 mins! Murray lost serve in the 8th game and lost the set 6-3.

By then he looked spent and Djokovic was just turning it on and tightening the screws. He broke Muzz twice and served it out easily to claim his fourth Australian Open title.

I had Djokovic as the favourite for the title and he won as expected. It is almost as if this surface was made as per Nole’s specifications. He looks utterly comfortable out there. As for Murray, my doubts about him haven’t gone away after this final. Can he bring out the aggressiveness in him when it matters like he did against Federer in that semi? He is yet to do that in a slam final (his US Open triumph had a lot to do with the wind) but is undeniably improving. Unfortunately for him, Novak Djokovic is another level above him and the Scot needs to improve even further if he wants to book his place among the all time greats of the game.

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Andy Murray Overcomes Defiant Federer, Reaches Final

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He was out served and out hit by his much younger opponent pretty much throughout the match. But the Grand Slam king of tennis refused to go away without a fight, often hanging on by his fingertips. Roger Federer turned what should have been a straight sets loss in to a 5 set classic against Andy Murray but Scot maintained his incredible form throughout the match to walk away with the victory. He will face world number one Novak Djokovic in Sunday’s final and will look to beat the man who stopped him here the last 2 years.

Murray did almost everything better than the Swiss; he had way more aces and winners and much less unforced errors. He even won 63% of his second serve points compared to Federer’s 43%. You just can’t lose with stats like that! But the old man of tennis just wouldn’t go away.

Andy began the match by breaking Federer early and holding the advantage to take the set 6-4. Both players held firm on their serves to take the second set to a tie break where Federer pounced at the right time to take it. Murray again got a break and took the third set 6-3. After 3 sets and just 1 break point chance, Federer finally broke Murray. But the Scot soon broke back and then broke again in the 11th game. But the old Lion wasn’t done yet and he broke Murray’s serve to force a tie break that he won easily (7-2).

The momentum was with Federer and he was the favourite going into the 5th set. But no one told Murray that and more importantly, he didn’t tell it to himself, like he was prone to do in the past. Instead Murray raised his level as Federer’s fell slightly. Roger was broken in his opening service game and then again while serving to stay in the match as the Scot deservedly took the set & match.

In my preview, I had said if Federer’s serve was on and his forehand clicking he would win this. Unfortunately neither was in any form tonight and it reflected in his game. He constantly fell behind in his service games and was unable to ace his way out of trouble like he used to do previously. Murray feasted when he got a look at Roger’s second serves. Andy’s own service game was on fire as he was mostly holding comfortably thanks to 21 aces in the match. That and his much more consistent ground strokes meant that Roger was constantly under pressure and forced to play catch up.

In fact, the stats look reversed that what we have come to expect of these two guys. Murray was the one who had a weaker second serve and Federer was the one who could ace his way out of trouble. Roger’s ground strokes just didn’t have that zing to it that could have made the difference. The last time he won here (in 2010), his backhand was such a weapon; down the line, it was finding its mark and crosscourt, it was practically untouchable.

Well, that’s the end of Federer’s Australian Open campaign. It has been a memorable one; 250 and counting Grand Slam match wins and 10 consecutive semi-finals or better here at the AO. You would think 10 semis in a row is a model of consistency, but is it? He has been stopped in the semis 5times here, more than the other 3 Slams put together (4)! Yes, only for the great Roger Federer can we come up with these stats!  😮

As a Federer fan, I am sad he lost but not overly disappointed because he fought bravely even though he clearly wasn’t at his best. Considering he didn’t play his usual warm-up before coming here, this semi final result is positive. Plus we don’t have to see those Pink shoes anymore!!  😛

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