2013 Australian Open Men’s Final
#3 Andy Murray vs. #1 Novak Djokovic
We have a lot of data to draw upon for this match. In 2012 alone the two met seven times. Novak Djokovic defeated Andy Murray in Melbourne, Miami, Shanghai and London. Andy Murray defeated Novak Djokovic in Dubai, at the Olympic Games, and in New York. Novak Djokovic is perfectly suited for the courts in Melbourne. His win in 2008 was a sign of things to come. The ease with which he won in 2011 and the grit he showed in fending off Murray and Nadal in back-to-back five set matches in 2012 all speak to how hard it is to dethrone Nole. In 2013, Nole has shown aspects of what led to both his 2011 and 2012 titles. Djokovic humbled world #4 David Ferrer and also gritted his way past Stanislas Wawrinka. On paper, Djokovic should win this match. He bested Murray in their two most recent matches, he bested Murray in 2011 and 2012 at the Australian Open, he had an extra day of rest, and he is playing on a court that is ideal for his game.
Will Novak win? That is a different question than the on paper analysis. Prior to the tournament starting, Andy Murray was the only player in the draw who I would give a 40% chance of beating Nole. After winning five straight set matches and finally beating Roger Federer at a Grand Slam (and overcoming some 4th set failures), I give Andy Murray a 45% chance of winning this match on paper. Both men return exceptionally well. This surface favors returners more than the hard courts at the US Open do. Recently, Murray’s first serve has been a bit of a bigger weapon than Nole’s, but Nole’s second serve is more historically solid than Murray’s.
My head says that Djokovic wins in 4 or 5 sets. My gut says that Murray pulls of the upset in 4 sets. I hope that the final is of the same quality as their 2012 Australian Open semifinal.
My Prediction: Novak Djokovic d. Andy Murray 7-5, 3-6, 6-4, 7-6