Friday, 28 January 2011

A Final Showdown

Murray - Djokovic

A fascinating match-up and another extremely difficult one to call. Murray overcame a battling and resistant Ferrer in 4 sets (finally an accurate prediction) to book his place in the final while Djokovic held his nerve at the crucial moments to put Federer out in straight sets. They're both playing well, Novak perhaps slighty more so, but basically, there's very little between them.

Here are some stats to show how they've got on in this year's Aussie Open:

ACES: AM-59 ND-45
UFE: AM-157 ND-148       *AM had 63 UFE against Ferrer
Winners: AM-199 ND-188
Sets dropped: AM-2 ND-1
Double Faults: AM-15 ND-14

Murray has had a significantly easier route through - looking at the rankings of his 6 opponents thus far (101, 79, 32, 11, 46, 7) - they average 46th, whereas Djokovic's defeated opponents' average rank is 29 (42, 81, 29, 14, 6, 2). It all counts for very little...

Murray will need to up his level against NDjo - as many errors and weak service games as he put in against DF will be mercilessly punished. Federer didn't exactly play badly, Novak just looked solid, determined and astonishingly consistent with the power and accuracy of his groundstrokes. He'll attack Murray more than Ferrer but the biggest difference will be Djokovic's GS experience - Ferrer was Murray's match for most of the game and then collapsed in the two tie-breaks. It may well come down to who performs at the crunch moments - they both did in their semi-finals.

Extremely solid in defence, passionate and aggressive on court but lighthearted and relaxed off, they're seriously well matched. Murray is exactly 1 week older, their hard court head-to-head is tied at 3-3 and their career win percentages are within 2% of each other. (ND 75.5%, AM 73.9%) - who needs Federer/Nadal?

A few stats do separate them though and may prove crucial one way or another.

Djokovic hasn't even taken a set from Murray since April 2008 (3 meetings) and Murray leads the head-to-head in Finals 2-0 (Miami '10 and Cincinnati '09)

He leads the overall head-to-head 4-3, has a better GS career win % (78.7% to 74.0%) and a significantly better Australian Open win % (78.3% to 70.6%). He also has the experience of winning a GS, and at Melbourne Park no less.

If a tennis match could end up in a draw, this one might well. I'm gonna stick my neck out, it's Murray's time. He'll win the Australian Open in 5 sets

* Unecessary but interesting stats:
If Djokovic wins, he'll lead Murray by 2120 ranking points, if Murray wins the gap will be just 520 - we've all heard of a 6 pointer, this is a 1600 pointer.
A Murray win will also take him back up to 4th in the rankings, whereas a defeat will mean that remarkably Soderling extends his lead over Murray to 195 points

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