Novak Djokovic got his head right during the overnight and this morning came out and manhandled David Ferrer 2-6, 6-1, 6-4, 6-2 to advance to his fourth at the US Open, ninth overall.
The match was controversially suspended last night because of an approaching severe weather system with Ferrer serving 5-2. When they resumed earlier today the Spaniard served out the set but that was the last memorable moment for Ferrer. It was one way traffic from there.
With his mind free of any weather or scheduling issues today, Djokovic dominated Ferrer in the final three sets to put himself into his third straight US Open Monday final.
“It’s a great relief obviously to get it over with in four sets,” Djokovic said. “As well I was a different player. I felt much more comfortable on the court today than I did yesterday. Obviously the conditions were more brutal for all of us who played yesterday.”
The two 25-year-olds who were born just a week apart now carry a rivalry first started in juniors to the biggest court on the planet. Djokovic has won eight of 14 career pro meetings including the 2011 Australian Open final and the 2012 Australian Open semifinal which Novak won in five sets. And that’s the match Murray needs to draw from.
“I remember that match going five sets and the distance,” Djokovic said of their match in Australia. “It was difficult in both a physical and mental way. A lot of long rallies, and you couldn’t really say who was going to win that match up to the last point. Most of our matches that we played against each other were very close, and only small margins decide the winner. That’s something that is expected in a way, because we have similar games. We are big rivals and we have been in top of the men’s game for a long time, so we know each other really well. The last match he has won in Olympic Games. Also close one. But it’s a different surface, obviously. With the different surface different tactics apply. So we’ll see. Tomorrow I guess there is no clear favorite.”
Over those five sets earlier this year Murray came out aggressive and attacking, and to stand any chance against Novak tomorrow that’s how he’ll have to play. Apart from the Roger Federer match and a breezy first set yesterday against Ferrer, Djokovic has been almost unbeatable on the hardcourts this summer. And if he plays as composed as he did today I don’t see how Murray is going to beat him
“I have had, yeah, some tough losses against him, but also had some big highs against him, as well,” Murray said. “So obviously will be an unbelievably tough match. He moves very well on the hard courts. He’s a top, top player, one of the best players that’s played.”
For Murray, no player has ever lost their first five Grand Slam finals, so maybe something has to give. But Murray was fortunate to avoid a two-set hole to Marin Cilic in the quarterfinals and then I think the wind helped him get by Tomas Berdych on Saturday. He will enjoy an extra day of rest but I don’t think that will factor much in the end result.
The key will be Murray’s aggression and Novak’s serve. All things being equal though, I give the edge to Djokovic. Murray also excels on the hardcourts but Novak is just too strong on this surface and if he’s playing well like he’s been he’ll get through Murray.
The Pick: Djokovic in four
And congrats to Serena Williams who just reaffirmed her status without doubt as the best player in women’s tennis right now. It went three but Serena was able to outlast Victoria Azarenka to win her 15th Grand Slam and fourth US Open.
CBS will have their fifth straight Monday final live at 4pm ET.
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