ATP 1000 Montreal Final Preview Novak Djokovic Vs Andy Murray


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World No.1 Novak Djokovic takes on soon to be world No.2 Andy Murray in the final of the ATP 1000 Canadian Open. The Tennis Review previews the action and predicts the winner.

Head to head: Djokovic leads 19-8 and has won their last eight matches including this season’s Australian Open final and the Miami 1000 final.

Form coming in: Djokovic has been the most tested of the two- he had to save two match points on his way to defeating Ernests Gulbis in 3 sets in the quarter-finals.

Djokovic was a little sloppy in that match, and allowed himself to be dictated to by the Latvian, and was helped a little by his erratic opponent’s implosion, and his own high margin for error and depth of shot, asking the Latvian to produce his very best under extreme pressure.

Other than that test, Djokovic has had a straightforward road to the title, dropping just three games to Jack Sock and beating first time ATP 1000 semi-finalist Jeremy Chardy 6-4, 6-4 in the Semis.

Murray has not been tested at all. The Scot had an easy quarter-final win over Tsonga, whom he now leads 12-2 in their head to head, and beat Kei Nishikori for the loss of three games. Nishikori was injured though, and there is little to tell from those matches other than Murray is playing his usual brand of solid tennis that has helped him climb back to No.2 in the world.

The Favorite: Djokovic has to be the strong favorite. The world No.1 is so much better than the rest of the tour and he is used to not being pushed in the run up to the business end of an event and then finding his best tennis in the finals.

Most crucially, against Murray, he has a huge mental advantage. A few times this year, in Melbourne, Miami and Paris, Murray has taken Djokovic to the brink, winning a set or two, only for Djokovic’s superior fitness, more aggressive baseline game, and winner’s mentality to wipe the floor with him in the last set or two of the match, memories Murray will need to wipe out if he is to stand a chance in what will be their 28th contest.

Murray could win if: Djokovic is not focused, which he has not been in the recent past in the North American hard court swing (he has not won a title since Canada 2012 in that part of the season), but there have been few examples of a lack of focus this year other than against Gulbis.

if Murray is to get his tenth win over Djokovic, he has to keep his first serve percentage high and not let Djokovic attack his second serve. He served at 65 percent versus Tsonga and saved three break points, and against Nishikori, a better returner than Tsonga, he served at 61 and dropped serve twice. Against Djokovic, that serve needs to stay above 65 percent.

Murray can only beat a decent playing Djokovic if he is aggressive, is hitting his forehand well, and can play like he did from the US Open 2012- Wimbledon 2013, his peak period, which he bookended with wins over Djokovic in slam finals.

Decisive factor: The mind. No matter how close Murray gets to victory, Djokovic will not feel close to defeat. Few understand better than Djokovic that it only takes one point to turn a match around, and he will be waiting, should Murray have a good start, for that point to come.

Winner: Djokovic, two sets, one close set, one easy set.

Commentary by Christian Deverille.

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Christian Deverille

Christian Deverille is a tennis writer with a diploma in Freelance Sports Writing from the London School of Journalism. He loves all things tennis, most of all the Federer and del Potro forehands.
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