BNP Paribas Masters Final Preview Novak Djokovic Vs Andy Murray
Novak Djokovic (1) will take on Andy Murray (2) in the BNP Paribas Masters final. The Tennis Review previews the action and predicts the winner.
History: Novak Djokovic leads the head to head 20-9 and has won 9 of their last 10 matches going back to Miami 2014.
Murray’s sole win in that ten match period was in Montreal when he beat Djokovic in three sets. Murray had to play his best tennis to defeat Djokovic in three, and he will have to be every bit as good in tomorrow’s final to repeat that win.
Form coming in: Novak Djokovic has won his last 21 matches and has dropped one set in his last 14 matches. That set was the second set of his contest versus Stan Wawrinka in their Paris-Bercy semi-final.
Novak’s reaction? To win the next set 6-0.
Djokovic won 20/28 points at the net in that match and the ease with which he is transitioning from the baseline to the net on these slow courts is ominous for Murray.
Murray has been in mixed form, cruising past Coric and then Goffin, getting into a scrap with Gasquet, and then putting in a patchy performance to defeat David Ferrer in their semi. Encouragingly for Murray he did play aggressively and started and ended the match very strongly.
Who should win: Djokovic. The Serbian is having his best career year, even better than 2011, and he loves playing Murray on a slow hard court.
The world no.1 defeated the world no.3 6-1, 6-3 in Shanghai a month back and in the imposing form he is in now it is hard to see him not grabbing another win over the Scot.
The Serb is getting into the exact rhythm he likes on slow hard from the baseline, is serving his first serve in the high 60s, and is creating plenty of break points opportunities (14 versus Wawrinka.)
Murray could win if: Murray has to approach this match with the attacking mindset that has won him most of his matches over Djokovic.
That attacking mindset has to be a controlled one too. Murray has to master his emotions against a player so skilled at wrecking them. The Scot should not help Djokovic tire him out by exhausting himself with negativity- the second seed is up against it as it is.
The Scot has a lot to do- he has to serve at 70% or higher against the game’s best returner, to return at his best versus one of the game’s most intelligent servers, to out-attack a Djokovic who is committed to stepping inside the baseline, and to not get upset at what goes on down the other side of the court.
Nothing less will do.
Prediction: Djokovic to win. Murray is not going to be a pushover, he is far too motivated to put in a positive showing with the Davis Cup final coming up, but he is not going to be able to withstand a Djokovic on course for posssibly the best season in tennis ever.
Murray may grab a set if he comes out on the attack, but when it comes to the big points, or at seizing the momentum, there is no one better than Djokovic right now, and the Serbian is very experienced at doing both of those versus Murray in big finals.
Commentary by Christian Deverille.
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