2013 Men’s Australian Open Tennis Championship
Sunday, January 27, 2013, 3:30 am Eastern, TV: ESPN
#1 Novak Djokovic (-200) vs #3 Andy Murray (+160)
Rod Laver Arena – Melbourne Park, Melbourne Australia
Playing Surface: Plexicushion (Hard)
Defending Champion; Novak Djokovic
All odds courtesy of Bookmaker
Novak Djokovic, 25 from Serbia, has won the Australian Open 3 times, including the last 2. He has 5 majors overall. He has made to at least the semifinals of the last 11 majors. For most players, winning a major and being the runner-up at two others would be a highly successful season. However, after Djokovic won 3 in 2011, many though his 2012 was a disappointment. He also made it to the semis at the Olympics but lost to Andy Murray and Juan Martin Del Potro and did not claim a medal. Djokovic didn’t play in a tournament before the Australian this year, but did narrowly hold on to his #1 ranking narrowly at the end of 2012. He will take on #3 seed Andy Murray in the Championship Sunday.
Murray, 25 from Scotland, has made to at least the quarters in 11 of the last 13 majors. His breakthrough at the U.S. Open was his first major, after coming close several times. he also won the gold medal at the London Olympics. He is a two time runner up at the Australian Open, but lost in the semifinals last year. Murray started off 2013 with a win in Brisbane in his only action of the year.
Djokovic and Murray have played 17 times. Djokovic leads the series 10-7. Djokovic has beaten Murrya two straight times. Murray beat Djokovic in the final of the U.S. Open in five sets and in the semifinals at the Olympics held at the All England Club where Wimbledon is held every year. Djokovic beat Murray in the semifinals of last year’s Australian Open in five sets.
Djokovic was the #1 seed for this year’s Australian open. He beat Paul-Henri Mathieu in the first round, Ryan Harrison in the second round, #31 Radek Stepanek in the third round, #15 Stanislas Wawrinka in the fourth round, and #5 Tomas Berdych in the quarterfinals. Wawrinka took him to five sets, winning the fourth set in a tiebreaker. Djokovic escaped 12-10 in the fifth set. Berdych took a set off him as well.
Djokovic crushed #4 David Ferrer in the semifinals. 6-2,6-2, 6-1. The match lasted just an hour and a half. Djokovic had 6 aces and 0 double faults, while Ferrer had an ace and 3 double faults. Djokovic converted 91% on first serves and 79% on second serves. Ferrer was at 56% on first serves, and 30% on second serves. Djokovic won 13 of 16 net points, and Ferrer was 3/9. Djokovic converted all 7 breakers and Ferrer did not even get to a break point. In fact Ferrer won only 7 points on his return for the whole match. Djokovic won 41 of 75 points in his return game. Djokovic had 30 winners and 16 unforced errors, and Ferrer had 11 and 32.
Murray was the #3 seed. Murray beat Robin Haase in the first round, Joao Sousa in the second round, Ricardas Berankis in the third round, #14 Gilles Simon in the fourth, and Jeremy Chardy in the quarterfinals. Berankis won 5 games in the third set, but otherwise that was the closest Murray came to dropping a set in his section of the draw.
Murray faced the #2 seed Roger Federer in the semifinals. Murray won an epic 5 set match 6-4, 6-7 (7-5), 6-3, 6-7 (7-2) and 6-2. The match took 4 hours to complete. Murray had 21 aces and 0 double faults, while Federer had 5 and 2. Murray converted 75% on first serves and 63% on second serves, while Federer was at 73% and 42%. Murray won 20 of 30 net points, and Federer was 29/44. Murray converted 6 of 16 breakers and Federer was 2/6. Murray won 66 points on his return, and Federer had 46. Murray had 62 winners and 47 unforced errors, and Federer had 43 and 60.
This match should go the full five as Murray and Djokovic are pretty evenly matched. The main difference I see is Djokovic should be much fresher as he cruised in his semifinal match Wednesday night/Thursday depending on where you watched the match, and Murray took 4 hours to beat Federer Thursday Night/Friday. Djokovic gets the extra day off. I think that will be the difference as Djokovic captures his third straight Australian Open title.