2013 Wimbledon Gentlemen’s Tennis Championship
Sunday, July 7, 2013, 9:00 am Eastern, TV: ESPN
#1 Novak Djokovic (-177) vs #2 Andy Murray (+147)
All-England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club – Wimbledon, England
Playing Surface: grass
All odds courtesy of Bookmaker
Though a rash of early round upsets on both the men’s and women’s side led to some lesser known players advancing, the top two seeds on the men’s side have managed to survive until the Final. #1 seed Novak Djokovic and #2 Andy Murray meet Sunday in the Men’s Final at Wimbledon. It is one of the most anticipated Finals in a long time.
Djokovic is 26 from Serbia. He is 39-5 this season with titles at the Australian Open, Dubai and Monte Carlo. He beat Rafael Nadal in the final at Monte Carlo and Murray in the Aussie Open Final. He lost a heartbreaking 5 setter to Nadal in the semifinals of the French, losing 9-7 in the fifth set despite leading 2-0. Djokovic has 6 major titles including one Wimbledon title in 2011. He has made it to at least the semifinals of the last 13 majors.
Murray is 26 from Scotland. He is 33-5 this season with titles at Brisbane, Miami, and at Queen’s Club in London on grass. He missed the French with a lower back injury. Murray has made it to at least the semifinals the last 5 times at Wimbledon, including losing to Roger Federer in the final last year. Murray would beat Federer in the gold medal match of the 2012 London Olympics, also held at Wimbledon. No British man has won Wimbledon since Fred Perry in 1936, a streak Murray would love to break.
Djokovic beat Florian Mayer in the first round at Wimbledon, Bobby Reynolds in the second, #28 Jeremy Chardy in the third, #13 Tommy Haas in the fourth, and #7 Tomas Berdych in the quarters. He did not drop a set en route to the semifinals. In the semifinals, Djokovic would survive an epic 5 setter against #8 Juan Martin Del Potro 7-5, 4-6, 7-6 (7-2), 6-7 (8-6), and 6-3. Del Potro fought off three match points in the fourth set tiebreaker. The match took four hours and 43 minutes, the longest semifinal in Wimbledon history. Fatigue could be a factor but Djokovic is one of the fittest and well-conditioned players on tour.
While Murray’s side of the draw was considered to much more difficult on paper than Djokovic’s, it didn’t work out that way. #3 Federer, #5 Nadal, and #6 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga were all eliminated by the second round. Murray beat Benjamin Becker in the first round, Yen-Hsun Lu in the second, #32 Tommy Robredo in the third and and #20 Mikhail Youzhny in the fourth round. In the quarterfinals Murray dropped the first two sets to unseeded Fernando Verdasco 6-4 and 6-3. Murray would win the next three sets 6-1, 6-4, and 7-5.
Murray played #24 seed Jerzy Janowicz in the semifianls. Murray would drop the first set in a tiebreaker 7-2. Murray won the next two sets by identical 6-4 scores. Throughout the third set, Janowicz complained about it getting too dark to play. Murray and Janowicz were playing in the second semi after the marathon Djokovic-Del Potro match. It was about 9:30 pm local time when the third set ended. There was roughly 30 minutes of light left but officials decided to halt play to close the retractable roof over Centre Court rather than closing it midway through the fourth. This upset Murray to say the least, as he began to berate the officials. Murray would take the fourth set 6-3 to win the match and advance to his second straight final at Wimbledon.
Djokovic leads the series 11-7 against Murray. Djokovic beat Murray 6-7, 7-6, 6-3, and 6-2 in their only meeting this year in the Championship of the Aussie Open in January. It was the third straight win for Djokovic after Murray beat him in five sets in the Championship of the US Open last year. The two have never played at Wimbledon before but Murray did beat him at the All-England Club in the semifinals of the Olympics last year. That was also the only other meeting on grass between the two rivals.
These two bring out the best in each other. The last eight meetings between Djokovic and Murray have seen 13 sets decided by either 7-5 or 7-6 scores. This should be no exception, and I think it goes the full five sets. Djokovic escapes with a win but there could be multiple tiebreakers.
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