The final of the men’s singles at the 2016 Australian Open is all set for Sunday between Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray.
We managed to find a winner in the women’s singles final on Saturday with set two of Angelique Kerber’s epic win over Serena Williams going past the 8.5 games mark.
Granted, it wasn’t how I (or many others) expected the final to go, with a superb performance from Kerber taking the honours in a hugely entertaining match, but a win is a win – especially in WTA – and I’ll take it.
Talking of entertaining, we now have the opposite, with the prospect of another men’s final between Djokovic and Murray to endure from around 08:30 UK time on Sunday.
Novak Djokovic vs Andy Murray
As tempted as I was to give this one a swerve altogether and look at the qualifying matches from Quito and Sofia on Sunday we have a Grand Slam final to preview.
Whatever happens on Sunday in this 31st career clash between these two similarly minded players we’re in profit for the tournament and I’m only of a mind to take on one wager here.
As great as these two players are their match-up is horrendous, with endless long rallies and the general feeling of inevitability that Djokovic will prevail sooner or later.
Murray’s cause won’t be helped by the bizarre scheduling at this tournament that sees two women’s semi finals and one men’s semi final played on the Thursday and one men’s semi on the Friday.
That extra day’s rest for Djokovic surely won’t favour the Scot, but he doesn’t help himself by having a tendency to go long ahead of finals, with Murray never in his career having won a semi final of a Grand Slam match in straight sets.
With Djokovic seemingly the fitter man in any case the odds are stacked against Murray, who has lost 21 of his 30 against the Serbian and six of his eight at Grand Slam level.
The one he won on grass at Wimbledon was superb, but the almost unplayable conditions at the 2012 US Open final was the other, and as adeptly as Murray handled conditions that day its value as a statistic is questionable.
The gap between the pair has widened considerably since that wildly windy day in New York, with Murray having won just one of their 13 meetings on hard courts between then and now.
To get to this stage Djokovic increased his level exponentially against Roger Federer from that which we saw in the earlier rounds and it is often the case that the Serb switches to fifth gear almost effortlessly when he’s faced with an opponent he knows can trouble him.
The opening two sets against Federer were pretty much tennis perfection, although a shell-shocked Federer wasn’t at the races at first, and Murray or any other opponent can’t live with that sort of level.
Minus 1.5 sets on Djokovic might be the one for ‘sure thing’ backers here at 1.43, with Djokovic in this form, and considering that the Scot hasn’t taken the Serb to five sets since that day in New York in 2012.
Indeed, that US Open match is the only one that I can bring to mind when asked about ‘classic Murray/Djokovic’ matches and unfortunately their styles don’t make for entertaining viewing, other than the odd point of brilliance here and there.
Murray has had to endure a lot to make this final and a lot of credit must go his way for that, but it’s hard to make much of a case for him here and especially given that he seems mentally unable to go toe-to-toe with Novak for long these days.
The best he can hope for would appear to be a set and with Djokovic having won seven of his 10 major titles by the score of 3-1 in the final that looks the best value wager here at 3.55.
Long shot: Back Djokovic to beat Murray 3-1 at 3.55