Sunday, 1 February 2015

Novak has 5 Aus Opens

Last night of the Aus Open for 2015 and maybe the best match saved for the finale.  Top seed Novak Djokovic in his fifth final here attempting to make it five from five and his opponent sixth seed Andy Murray trying to lift the trophy for the first time at his fourth attempt, his third against Djokovic.

Murray's two triumphs at Grand Slam level had been wins in finals against Djokovic, but on courts in London and New York, and last year the Serbian star beat him in all contests that they shared, including a US Open quarter final. However all that counts for little really because tonight even the form from the past two weeks guaranteed nothing in terms of advantage for either player. What can truly be said is that they are evenly matched for speed and skill on the court so a potentially a great final was in store.

Djokovic won the toss and elected to serve first. Despite the inclimate weather experienced during the day, the roof was open for the start.
After netting the first point Djokovic served well and held easily, a backhand winner the highlight. Two big serves after a nervous deuce game from Murray evened it at 1-1.

Murray had three break points after blitzing Djokovic with a forehand, backhand and off forehand, two of which were clean winners. Djokovic saved them and won the game, two backhand volley winners absolute class.

The run continued with two forehand winners down the line helping to bring up three break points on the Murray serve, and the second one was converted with a winning crosscourt forehand - the top seed led 3-1.

The break was consolidated, the Djokovic serve solid when required, and at 4-1 the early edge was with Serbia.

Murray held strong, winning many of the longer exchanges, and held serve before seeing two more break points slide by. The third was too much for Djokovic to absorb though and he dropped serve to now lead 4-3.

After looking ok at 30-0, Murray stumbled and on the second break point hit one well long to leave Djokovic serving for the set at 5-3.  Yet another poor service game and the break put the set up for grabs again, Djokovic playing safe while Murray attacked with success.

Two strong holds of serve returned some sanity to the match and now it was Murray to try and take it to a tie break.

After racing through his serve Murray seized on a double fault from Djokovic on the first point in the tie break to hold the advantage until 4-2 where he contributed one of his own. Djokovic found a way to reach 6-5 and set point and a Murray netted return off a second serve sorted the first set out in favour of the world number one 7-6. It took over an hour.

Quickly over the disappointment, Murray held serve and then broke the Djokovic serve, to take a 2-0 advantage. Djokovic was continuing to find the net with too many shots especially his backhand.
Two brilliant combination winners, a lob/drop shot and a return/drop shot enabled Djokovic to achieve a break point which Murray failed to save, netting the final point and games were back in serve.

At 2-2 Murray was outlasted in two long rallies before Djokovic hit a screaming forehand return to set up three break points of which he only required one to achieve a second consecutive break of the Murray serve and take the lead 3-2.

More first serves in play gave Murray less options and Djokovic held to love, an ace sealing the 4-2 advantage.
Once again, Djokovic failed to maintain the edge and Murray levelled after converting his break point in the eighth game.

At 4-5 Djokovic was sailing at 40-0, wasted all those game points and then had to save a break point in a long game which he eventually salvaged to tie it at 5-5.

Murray saved three break points with clutch serving after Djokovic had played some exquisite passing shots earlier in the game and now the top seed had to hold serve to ensure another tie break.

The tie break came and Murray out served and out rallied Djokovic completely to level the match at a set all. We had gone a little over two and half hours and we still effectively had a best of three match to play.

Murray started set three by breaking an inconsistent Djokovic serve.  For the first time perhaps it looked ominous for the number one.

However better application from Novak and a drop in the level of play from Andy saw a break back in the fourth game and 2-2.
Murray served superbly to level 3-3 and Djokovic saved a break point with a brilliant volley under immense pressure, going on to hold for 4-3.

Then with a lift in his standard of tennis Djokovic was all over the Murray serve setting up three break points, and although Murray saved one, he double faulted on the next and suddenly Djokovic was serving for the set at 5-3. 

Having made a mess the last time he tried serving a set out it wasn't looking good again at 0-15 but Novak stood firm and his serve aided him on this occasion, and he won the game and the set 6-3 to lead two sets to one.

Incredible returning in the opening game of set four put enormous pressure on Murray and he relented on the first break point and Djokovic led two sets to one and an early break.

The momentum was irresistible now and Murray was beginning to wilt under the relentless replies from the Serbian racquet - a second break and Djokovic led 3-0.
Despite playing around with a drop shot and again failing, Djokovic survived a deuce moment to lead 4-0. 

It was a whitewash, the next break meaning Djokovic had won eleven of the past twelve games.  He would serve for the title.

Novak Djokovic served it out like the champion he had once more become. 7-6 6-7 6-3 6-0.

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