Djokovic Outlasts Murray in 5 in Australian Open Semifinal

by Staff | January 27th, 2012, 9:22 am

Defending champion and world No. 1 Novak Djokovic moved into the Australian Open final where he will face Rafael Nadal after Friday night defeating Andy Murray in five sets 6-3, 3-6, 6-7, 6-1, 7-5.
The almost-five-hour match will be a recovery test for the world No. 1 in the final against Nadal.

“It was a very physical match. It was one of the best matches I have played,” Djokovic said. “I am extremely delighted to be in to the final round, and what can be a bigger challenge than playing Rafael Nadal.”

Up a set and a break, Djokovic looked in control until a Murray rally evened it at one set a piece. When Murray won the third set in a tiebreak, Djokovic looked like his tank might be empty, but in the fourth set the Serb broke early and ran to a 6-1 victory.

In the fifth set Murray fought back from 2-5 to 5-5 before Djokovic held for 6-5 and broke Murray for the victory.

“Andy deserves the credit to come back from 2-5 down. He was fighting. I was fighting,” Djokovic said. “Not many words that can describe the feeling of the match.”

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29 Comments for Djokovic Outlasts Murray in 5 in Australian Open Semifinal

vox777 Says:

Bravo Nole!!! Idemo!!!

dari Says:

It was another great match to start the day, in fact I enjoyed it more than the fedal!
Andy is gonna get the next one!

Michael Says:

Congratulations to Novak for this great win over Murray. I was rooting for him all through this match because I know that if anybody can give a stiff fight to Nadal in this kind of blistering form, it can only be Novak as Murray has a history of surrendering rather tamely in the final post not once or twice, but thrice.

tennisfan Says:

After today’s performance it’s very clear that right now, in men’s tennis, nobody is mentally as strong as Nole. He has now won critical matches in tremendous pressure against Federer, Nadal & Murray. If Rafa really has to win against Djokovic, he better look out for those winners. Djokovic hit 83 winners in their last two meetings (Wimby+US Open). More importantly Nadal has to believe in himself that he can win this battle. Djokovic/Nadal’s Mind War: What does the stats indicate?

jane Says:

Murray said playing Nole would give him a good sense of where he is in comparison to last year – well, he should feel proud and happy because he was that close (fingers pinch closely together) to winning this match.

Commiserations margot, racquet, Colin, Kimmi, etc, all Muzz fans. But he is oh so close right?

Kudos to Nole for fighting the good fight, do love his heart, for which he’d be criticized in this past (i.e. for lack of). He really puts it all out there.

Have the match recorded but couldn’t wait to find out score, lol. Their stats were remarkably similar, but three things stand out = first Murray hit more UEs (86 vs. 69), second Nole won more second serves (45% to 30%), and third Nole’s been the best this tournament at converting break points and that held true in this match as well (in fact, I commented on another thread that this could be the key stat) – 42% (11 of 26) for Nole, vs. 29% (7 of 24) for Muzza. I am sure there were intangibles and also who played clutch points better etc, but have to watch first.

I love these two!!! :)

jane Says:

“for which he’d be criticized in this past” – oops, meant to say “for which he’s been criticized in the past”.

Skeezerweezer Says:

Wow. Comments from the other thread have proven a few new things about Murray.

He is really raedy and primed this time to win a Slam this year.

Humble Rafa needs to get rid of the lady forehand comment. He’s got a mans FH now that competes with the top 3.

Congrats to Ole Ole Nole, hope you have some gas left in the tank for the beast. You looked weary and foot heavy early on.
Remember, you own the Beast.

jane Says:

Congrats to Nole for his 400th match win.

grendel Says:

“second Nole won more second serves (45% to 30%),” well, that’s no surprise, jane. more and more towards the end, Djokovic was whacking Murrays’s second serve whilst in clutch moments, Djokovic had the courage to deliver huge second serves.

Murray’s liability with the 2nd serve has long been known, you do wonder why he still hasn’t come up with an answer. he has such a lovely serving action, too. Frew Macmillan is of the opinion that Murray would be much better advised developing a decent slice on his second, rather than going for the kick serve – which looks spectacular, but which didn’t trouble Djokovic.

Tennis Vagabond Says:

This will be an enormous test for where Novak is at mentally, in addition to the fatigue he’ll suffer, and muscle pain, there’s this from the NYTimes:
Djokovic, who has long suffered from allergies, appeared seriously short of breath for big phases of the second and third sets. Those who think he takes a great deal of time between his first and second serves should have seen how slowly he walked to his chair at one stage.

“I’ve seen doctor, and I’ve talked with some people,” he said.

Djokovic said he had spoken with players who were having allergy issues this year in Australia who had not had them in recent years. “I suppose that’s my problem as well,” he said. “I’ve been trying to, you know, do everything possible to clear that out. But you know we are all surrounded with the flowers. It’s really difficult to take that away.
**** So Nole has built in excuses if the going gets tough, and it will. Will he give in to it? I look forward to finding out.
Consider me a Fed fan who has finally admitted that Fed is the underdog not just against Rafa, but Nole and Murray. I think he’s got a good chance against each of them, but not the odds.

marrisv Says:

Congrats to Novak fans. Commiserations to Andy’s fans…

I really thought Andy would do it after he came back in the final set and 2 bps to go up 6-5. Felt for him.

I firmly believe the guy will break through this year on the slam front. His attitude and the way he went about it yesterday was admirable.

margot Says:

skeeze: Brad Gilbert seems to think Lendl has already changed something on the forehand, making it more effective. ITT had the most terrifying forehand, I know. Didn’t grendel say at one point Andy had hit more forehand winners than Nole? Crikey :)

Humble Rafa Says:

Brad Gilbert seems to think Lendl has already changed something on the forehand

Your Humble Highness is in agreement with BG. I have to say that for someone named Mr. Lady Forehand, he did okay on the FH, not great, but okay.

dari Says:

I was on a Murray site that had video of one of their practices and it said that Ivan was taking picture and video of Andy’s fh and showing it to him.
Obviously they prob didn’t change a lot technically, but it seemed like he was hitting it a bit flatter today.
I’m happy to see it!
Been cheering for fed and Murray, now that they are gone, I am just gonna enjoy the final. Novak and rafa’s USO was outrageous, but I don’t know if novak can handle that type of play after today. Hope he is fully healthy and breathing well!
As for the ladies, I hope vika’s little tongue-out-#1 finger wag is not in vain and she wins it for the #1 spot! I think its rwally excited that this match decides it!

Jamie Says:

Psychic predicts Djokovic to win the final. As you know, she is never wrong. 100% correct all the time. She also told me Federer will not win anymore slams. She sees 16 slams as his final number.

grendel Says:

yes, that’s true margot – it was, I think, 17-9 fh winners in favour of Murray, and that was towards the end. One point: because Murray has changed his positioning (moving forward), even if he hits the ball no harder, it’ll still tend to go long sometimes, as indeed it did. That’s something practice will sort out I imagine. Funny, because at the start, he was dumping easy-ish fhs into the net – nerves, presumably.

It was intriguing watching Lendl in the box. As a player, he could look pale and gaunt to the point of appearing spectral. But now he has fattened up, tanned up, and he has a tremendously solid and reassuring sort of presence, whilst at the same time exuding authority.

marrisv Says:

Murray looks to be Novak’s toughest matchup on hard courts, no doubt.

I get the feeling Murray will definitely be Number 2 by the time the year ends.

Jamie Says:

Psychic predictions for the upcoming months:

AO Djokovic(duh)

FO Nadal

Wimbledon and USO is where it gets exciting for Murray. She thinks he might win both and become #1.

Murray will become Nole’s new nemesis and beat him many times. AO is a just a preview of Murray’s future. He will only get better. Great times for Murray fans in the second semester of 2012. She thinks Del Potro might win a slam in 2013.

No more slams for Federer, BTW.

Michael Says:

Murray played well and was also lucky in the match to have extended it to five sets. It appears he is now maturing himself to be a Champion in due course of time. But I certainly felt that had Murray beat Novak, he would have been trounced by Nadal in the finals in straights. That is my assumption which was based on Murray’s failure in his many slam finals to even extend the match. Psychologically too, Nadal and his team will be more prepared for Murray than Novak.

margot Says:

grendel: now have gr8 mental picture of Andy and Ivan on the practise courts and Ivan firing down those terrifying forehands and Andy stepping FORWARDs to hit them! Good luck with that Andy!
Do agree with you about Ivan’s re-assuring presence in the box too. Perhaps it’s just what Andy needed to calm him down?
On reflection cannot believe how he gave away the 4th set. He should at least have made Nole serve for it. Huge tactical error, probably cost him the match.

Michael Says:

Margot, It was not possible because at 5-1 when Murray was serving he was beaten by three consecutive fantastic return of serves from Novak. He did not give that game away due to his mistake but only due to the brilliance of Novak.

Possum Says:

Three things have been evident this Aus Open.

One – write off Federer at your peril. He’s still a factor in big tournaments and I would bet on him versus both Djokovic and Murray although agree that Nadal is a major road block.

Two – what happened to Murray’s vaunted variety? Against Djokovic he basically slugged it out from the baseline. Where were the supposed bewildering variety of strokes: the change of pace and trajectory, the off pace shots, the dinks, drop volleys and slice?

Three – Djokovic is a dead-set drama queen. Apart from the irritating chest pumping (as if he alone has heart) he seems to be playing possum in his matches, pretending he is injured, pointing to his nose as if to say he’s suffering breathing problems etc.

madmax Says:

Jamie Says:
Psychic predicts Djokovic to win the final. As you know, she is never wrong. 100% correct all the time. She also told me Federer will not win anymore slams. She sees 16 slams as his final number.

January 27th, 2012 at 3:51 pm

You lost your cred jamie when you got your predictions wrong for fed losing to Del po at the QF’s – no one takes you seriously, if they ever did but thanks for the comedy.

and Murray played a blinder.

madmax Says:

I need to qualify that…(in relation to Federer).

jamie Says:

Slam predictions

Federer 16

Nadal 11

Nole 8

Murray 4

Del Potro 2

As always, new players will emerge in the future and win slams. Tomic and young guns born in the nineties.

sheila Says:

jamie says: fed 16; nadal 11; djokovic 8; murray 4 & delpo 2. well, if nadal wins the final tomorrow i think he will win 3 of 4 majors in 2012. i think as long as nadal keeps making it to slam finals he will definitely have the chance to pull ahead of federer. im not a psychic but predict nadal will win 18 majors. i agree, i dont think roger will win another majort(gee, i hope im wrong) but as well as federer played @ ao he couldnt get to final because he simply doesnt match up well agains nadal. i dont think nadal is gr8ter than federer, nor do i think federer is gr8ter than nadal(i dont believe in this gr8tst of all time crap), i think its all about matchups. roddick never matched up well against federer, & so on & so forth. but if nadal wins in the final, his confidence level will soar & i predict he will win 3 majors this year. it was nice 2c murray being more aggressive. gr8 match btwn him & djokovic. if he consistently plays more aggressive i think he can get in the mix along w/nadal & djokovic. lets face it, time is running out 4 federer(my fvt player). delpo, maybe, but doubtful he would get by nadal or djokovic 2 win another major. tsonga, monfils, soderling & berdych not consistent enuff nor have they grown a pair 2 beat the likes of nadal or djokovic. 2012 will be dominated by djokovic & nadal once again, imho

alison hodge Says:

madmax i believe jamies pyschic also said sorry murray fans murray will loose to tsonga in the quarter finals hmm.

skeezerweezer Says:


Glad you mentioned Nole’s breathing issue. After hearing him talk in the post on court interview, its easy to tell he has one. Bummer he has to deal with that. Oh well, Rafa has his knees (really?) Fed his back, and Andy his niggles.

I am with you on the Fed. He is not an odds on fav to win now but if you can still get to semis in Slams you still have to know he has a shot. Hopeful ;)


Andy’s game is shoring up, and have to give some credit to Lendl. If he continues to use his fh like that, he is on his way this year. Note how Novak a few years back had a weaker fh side and we can’t say that now. My only last connecting dot now for Andy is his second serve. Its attackable and the better players expose it. However, He is really close now, hope he maintains and improves.


The math of 18 majors for Rafa is a tough sell. He is an old 26. You can only win 4 majors a year. He would have to make a historic run like no other to get 8 majors from here to there (when his career ends). He is injury prone. Additonally, as he gets older, he is going to run into the same issues Fed did. Current players getting better ( ex; Novak/Murray…) and new ones coming up(Tomic, etc) and they will win majors before Rafa’s career is over. It would be a heckava feat, but I am not betting my paycheck on it.


Most excellant description of Lendl. It was spot on!

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