Australian Open 2013: Djokovic vs. Murray finals preview

January 26, 2013 · Print This Article

by: Tom Cochrane

Victoria Azarenka is the 2013 Australian Open women’s champion, the Belarusian defending her title at Melbourne Park with a thrilling 3-set win over Li Na.

Day 13 Recap

The world number one entered Saturday night’s final as a heavy favourite, and it appeared early on as if the Belarusian was burdened by that favouritism, with crowd favourite Li Na racing out to an early lead. Taking the ball incredibly early and jumping all over Azarenka’s second serves, Li Na took the opening set 6-4 as the crowd started to sense a boilover.

Azarenka appeared tense in the opening set and seemed to struggle to find the appropriate balance between aggressive shot-making and more conservative play. Unfortunately for Li, a rolled ankle in the second set seemed to halt the sixth seed’s momentum, opening the door for Azarenka to climb back into the match. With Li still going for her shots but starting to miss somewhat more frequently, Azarenka levelled the match at a set apiece, taking the second set 6-4.

There was more drama in the final set, with the players trading service breaks before Li again fell over on her ankle, this time hitting her head on the court, which triggered an injury time-out and much concern all around. Undeterred, the Chinese star continued to fight but the world number one was not to be denied, grabbing the decisive break to lead 5-3 before breaking Li in ninth game to seal the win in 2 hours and 40 minutes and claim back-to-back Australian Open championships. It was clear how much the win meant to the top seed, with Azarenka bursting into tears after winning the final point.

Match of the Day – Day 14

Novak Djokovic vs. Andy Murray

Contesting their second successive Grand Slam final against one another, Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic are seeking to cement a slight changing of the guard in the men’s game.

The great Roger Federer was finally defeated by Andy Murray at Grand Slam level, losing a compelling 5-set semi-final on Friday night. Although the Swiss master is still near the top of the sport, it’s probably fair to say that his best tennis is behind him. Rafael Nadal returns to the ATP Tour next month, and it remains to be seen if the 11-time Grand Slam champion can avoid injury to return to the apex of the men’s game.

In the meantime, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray have become the two most dominant players in the game. The Serb has asserted himself at the top of the tree over the last 24 months and Murray has been right there beside him in the last half a year, making the Wimbledon final, winning the Olympic gold medal and also claiming his maiden major title at Flushing Meadows. The third seed outlasted Djokovic in 5 sets to win that historic first Grand Slam, and the Scot will now be determined to become a multiple major champion and not a one-Slam wonder.

That win in New York will have given Murray an incredible amount of confidence heading into this final, as the Scot now truly knows he has what it takes to be a Grand Slam champion. Djokovic leads Murray 10-7 overall in career meetings, but very little separates the two of them. Djokovic was dynamic against Ferrer in his semi-final, but Murray was just as impressive in slaying the great Federer. I think this final should be another classic. I’ll go with Djokovic given his incredible success on Rod Laver Arena in the past, but it’s a 50-50 call to my mind. Djokovic in 5.

That’s it for today. Enjoy the tennis and I’ll be back with another serve to wrap up the men’s final tomorrow.

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