Childhood rivals Murray and Djokovic battle at Melbourne Park
World number five, the UK’s Andy Murray, will face world number three, Serbian Novak Djokovic, in the final of the Men’s Singles Australian Open. The final of the Grand Slam down under will take place in Rod Laver Arena on Sunday, 30th January 2011.
Childhood friends, Murray and Djokovic, have a fledgling rivalry that is made even more interesting by the fact that they are very similar on paper. Both are currently in top form, both are ranked in the top five and both players are exactly the same age.
The Scot has won 16 career titles while Djokovic has won 18 career titles. They also have had varying amounts of success at the Australian Open in the past. Murray has reached the Australian Open final for the second time in a row. While Djokovic has won the
Australian Open once in 2008. Both players have also gone through top players to reach the finals. Murray defeated David Ferrer, to gain his spot in the final. Djokovic took down Roger
Federer to make it. Another interesting twist to this story is that a Brit has not won a men’s singles Grand Slam championship in 75 years. A lot rides on Murrays shoulders.
Their recent match history is also well matched. Murray has won nine matches in a row while the Serbian has won 11 in a row. Murray and Djokovic have played against each other in their early days but professionally they have had seven head to head matches.
In these encounters Djokovic leads four matches to three but the last match they played against each other was more than a year and half ago. Their match winning statistics for the last year show that Djokovic has won 78 percent of his matches while Murray
has won 74 percent of his games. They both have held their services 83 percent in the last year.
Andy Murray started his Australian Open journey by getting past Karol Beck in the first round. Murray then won the second, third and fourth round with easy straight set wins over Illya Marchenko, Guillermo Garcia-Lopez and Jurgen Melzer respectively. In
the Quarter-finals, he defeated Alexandr Dolgopolov in a tiring four set match. In the semi-final, he faced David Ferrer who had just defeated world number one Nadal. His game collapsed in the first set but Murray came back in the next three to beat Ferrer
in a very physical match.
Novak Djokovic won the first round against Marcel Granollers with an easy straight set victory. He defeated Ivan Dodig in the second round in a four set match. He won against Victor Troicki in the third round who retired after the first set. The Serbian
then won an easy straight set victory in the fourth round against Nicolas Almagro. Djokovic defeated world number six, Tomas Berdych, with an easy straight set victory. The semi-finals were his greatest challenge up to that point. World number two, Roger Federer,
awaited him in a very tough match-up. The Serb played superb tennis and went head on with Federer and came out on top.
An analysis of the brackets reveals that Djokovic faced tougher competitors before reaching the final. Three of his opponents were in top 15 in the world, while Murray faced comparatively easier opponents. Most statistics point towards Djokovic winning the
Grand Slam title but Murray's record of defeating the Serbian three times in their last three encounters has made this a must see final.