AO2015: Third Melbourne Final between Djokovic and Murray. Who will win? - UBITENNIS
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AO2015: Third Melbourne Final between Djokovic and Murray. Who will win?

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TENNIS AO2015 – Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic will play they third final at the Australian Open. Nole won the previous two final match-ups Down Under in 2011 (6-4 6-2 6-3) and 2013 (6-7 7-6 6-3 6-2) and the semifinal in 2012 in a five.-set match (6-3 3-6 6-7 6-1 7-5). Djokovic leads 15-8 in the previous head-to-head matches against Murray and leads 13-6 in hard-court matches. Their last Grand Slam match was the US Open quarter final last year when Djokovic won in four sets with 7-6 6-7 6-2 6-4. Djokovic also won the last two matches in the Beijing semifinal (6-3 6-4) and in Paris Bercy quarter final (7-5 6-2). Diego Sampaolo

 

AO2015: Interviews, Results, Order of Play, Draws

Nole won six of their past seven head-to-head matches since the epic US Open final in 2012 won by Murray in five sets with 7-6 (12-10) 7-5 2-6 3-6 6-2. Murray clinched only one of these seven matches at the 2012 Wimbledon final when the Dunblane native made history becoming the first Briton to win at Church Road since Fred Perry in 1936.

He has a fantastic record in Melbourne. He loves the court and the conditions. It would be a big upset if I manage to win. I have never won against him in Melbourne. I have lost against him the last four or five times we played against each other. I am not saying it’s not a possibility but it’s going to be very tough. ”, said Murray.

Murray admitted that he did not watch the second semifinal between Djokovic and Wawrinka

I tried not to spend too much thinking about it (the match between Wawrinka and Djokovic) and I tried to do the same sort of routine as I have been doing in the other matches and use Friday as a recovery day. Then I practiced slightly harder than I would normally have the day before a Grand Slam final”, said Murray

Murray and Djokovic will play the closest Grand Slam final by age. Both players were born in 1987 but Murray is just seven days older than his Serbian fellow colleague. The previous closest Grand Slam finalists by age were Guillermo Vilas and Jimmy Connors who played the 1977 US Open when Vilas was 18 days older than Connors.

Djokovic is bidding to win his 8th Grand Slam title and become the 8th player in history together with André Agassi, Jimmy Connors, Ivan Lendl and Fred Perry and Ken Rosewall on the all-time list for most major titles. “Djoker” has a 7-7 win-loss record in the previous Grand Slam finals. He won four titles at the Australian Open in 2008 against Jo Wilfred Tsonga in four sets (4-6 6-4 6-3 7-6), in 2011 against Murray (6-4 6-2 6-3). In 2012 against Rafa Nadal in a epic five-set match (5-7 6-4 6-2 6-7 7-5) and in 2013 against Murray (6-7 7-6 6-3 6-2).

Djokovic is looking to become the 17th Number 1 seed player to triumph at the Australian Open in the Open Era. He is bidding to extend to extend his 9-match winning-streak against top-10 players. He suffered his last defeat against a top-10 player last October when he lost to Roger Federer in the 2014 Shanghai Master 1000 Tournament. He lost just two sets in his last eight matches against top-10 rivals against Kei Nishikori at the 2014 ATP Finals in London and in the semifinals at the 2015 Australian Open against Stan Wawrinka on Friday where he prevailed with 7-6 (7-1) 3-6 6-4 6-0.

Murray, who is playing in his 10th consecutive Australian Open and in his 36th Grand Slam tournament overall, is bidding to become the first player in the Open Era to clinch the Australian Open title after losing three finals in 2010 to Roger Federer, in 2011 and 2013 to Djokovic. Marat Safin lost two finals in Melbourne in 2002 to Thomas Johanson and 2004 to Roger Federer before beating Lleyton Hewitt in his third attempt in 2005. Murray has a 2-5 win-loss record in his previous seven Grand Slam finals. Murray is looking to become the first number 6 seed to clinch a Grand Slam title since Juan Martin Del Potro’s win over Roger Federer at the 2009 US open.

Murray became the first Briton to win a Grand Slam title since Fred Perry in 1936 and the first player from his country in the home Slam at Wimbledon since Perry in 1936. He could write another piece of British tennis history if he wins tomorrow. He could become the British player to clinch the Australian Open since Perry beat Jack Crawford in 1934. Murray is looking to become the 21st man to win three or more Grand Slam titles. He has not defeated a World Number 1 since beating Djokovic in the 2013 Wimbledon final. The only other number 1 player Murray managed to beat in the four Grand Slams was Rafa Nadal in the semifinals of the 2008 US Open. Murray lost the final of that edition of Flushing Meadows against Roger Federer. Then he became the first British player to qualify for a Grand Slam final since Greg Rusedski in 1997. By reaching his 8th Grand Slam final with his semifinal win over Tomas Berdych Murray has become the second most successful player in Grand Slam behind Fred Perry who qualified for 10 Slam finals (including two at the Australian Open).

Federer (25 finals), Nadal (20) and Djokovic (15) are the only three active players to have reached more Grand Slam finals than Murray who Is currently joint 13th with Ken Rosewall and Guillermo Vilas for the most Grand Slam finals in the Open Era.

The last time Murray suffered a five-set defeat was in the semifinals of the 2012 Australian Open against Djokovic.

After winning at the US Open and Wimbledon the Dunblane native could add a third Slam to his trophy cabinet and come closer to achieving a Career Grand Slam.

“Winning any of the Slams is a very tough and challenging ting to do. Winning three or four Grand Slams seems like nothing because of everything that the other guys have done, but it’s a very difficult to do. Whether I win or not on Sunday, I still feel like my record here has been a good one. We know each other pretty well. We both know what to expect from each other’s game. The fact that I have won seven of the last eight matches is going to serve a great confidence booster coming into the match”, said Murray.

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The Year-End Rankings: The Rise Of Alcaraz And The Eternals, Djokovic and Nadal

Image via ATP Twitter

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By Roberto Ferri

Let’s start our last article on the ATP rankings by quoting the words which are said to be the last of emperor Augustus: “The play is over, applaud”.

 

We cannot but applaud Novak Djokovic, six-time ATP Finals winner just like Roger Federer. And we applaud the season, which, for good or ill, has been unique. Just consider the most striking events: Carlos Alcaraz rising to No. 1, Roger Federer’s retirement, all the issues involving Djokovic and the Wimbledon affair.  

The top positions of the ranking have been significantly impacted by Djokovic’s absence from two Majors (Australian Open and US Open), four Masters 1000 (Indian Wells, Miami Open, Canadian Open, Cincinnati) and by ATP’s decision to not award points for Wimbledon.

If we compare the ATP rankings published after the ATP Finals in 2021 and 2022, this fact is clearly noticeable. 

22 NOVEMBER 2021

PositionPlayerCountryPts 
1DjokovicSerbia11540
2MedvedevRussia8640
3ZverevGermany7840
4TsitsipasGreece6540
5RublevRussia5150
6NadalSpain4875
7BerrettiniItaly4568
8RuudNorway4160
9HurkaczPoland3706
10SinnerItaly3350
11Auger-AliassimeCanada3308
12NorrieGB2945
13SchwartzmanArgentina2625
14ShapovalovCanada2475
15ThiemAustria2425
16FedererSwitzerland2385
17GarinChile2353
18KaratsevRussia2351
19Bautista AgutSpain2260
20Carreno BustaSpain2230

14 NOVEMBER 2022:

PositionPlayerCountryPts
1AlcarazSpain6820
2NadalSpain6020
3RuudNorway5820
4TsitsipasGreece5550
5DjokovicSerbia4820
6Auger-AliassimeCanada4195
7MedvedevRussia4065
8RublevRussia3930
9FritzUSA3355
10HurkaczPoland2905
11RuneDenmark2888
12ZverevGermany2700
13Carreno BustaSpain2495
14NorrieGB2445
15SinnerItaly2410
16BerrettiniItaly2375
17ShapovalovCanada2105
18CilicCroatia2075
19TiafoeUSA2000
20KhachanovRussia1990

Novak Djokovic ended 2021 with 4720 points more than Carlos Alcaraz; also Medvedev and Tsitsipas earned more points than the Spaniard, who would not have reached 7000 points even counting the 135 points he wasn’t awarded at Wimbledon.

A few comments on the 2022 rankings:

  • Casper Ruud, the ATP Finals finalist, concludes his excellent year in third place, overtaking Stefanos Tsitsipas with an impressive final rush.
  • Novak Djokovic and Rafa Nadal are the only top 10 players born in the 80s; the other 8 were born in the second half of the 90s.
  • Cameron Norrie and Pablo Carreno Busta are the survivors of the lost generation, born between 1990 and 1995 and that was most overpowered by the Big Four dominance. 
  • Only North America, beyond Europe, is represented at the very highest: Auger Aliassime, Fritz, Shapovalov and Tiafoe.
  • Holger Rune has gained 92 positions since the start of the year. Carlos Alcaraz “just” 31.
  • A final note: Kei Nishikori ends 2022 without a ranking. Does this suggest he’s going to retire?

BEST RANKING

Owing to earned and dropped points, as well as results in the Challenger events, five players in the top 100 have achieved their career highest this week:

Emil Ruusuvuori – 40

Quentin Halys – 64

Christopher O’Connell – 79

Roman Safiullin – 89

Nuno Borges – 91

A special applause for the 20-year old Ben Shelton, a bright prospect for USA tennis, who has made his debut in the top 100. Thanks to his victory in the Champaign-Urbana Challenger he’s now ranked 97.

Is that all? Not yet! Just a quiz for everybody: which was the last year which saw the first two places in the rankings occupied at the end of the season by two players of the same nationality?

That’s really all for now. We’ll be back in 2023.

Translated by Kingsley Elliot Kaye

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ATP Finals Daily Preview: Novak Djokovic Faces Casper Ruud in the Championship Match

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Novak Djokovic on Saturday in Turin (twitter.com/atptour)

The biggest ATP non-Major final of 2022 takes place on Sunday in Turin, Italy.

 

2022 has been a bizarre year in the career of Novak Djokovic.  It started with his deportation from Australia, forcing the unvaccinated Djokovic to miss the first Major of the year.  That would be one of six prominent events that Novak would miss this season due to COVID-19 entry rules (Australian Open, Indian Wells, Miami, Montreal, Cincinnati, US Open).  Yet Djokovic was still able to accumulate a record of 41-7, and win his 21st Slam at Wimbledon.  He is now 17-1 at indoor ATP events this fall, and will end the year as the World No.5  With a win on Sunday, he would tie Roger Federer for most all-time ATP Finals titles.

2022 has been a groundbreaking year in the career of Casper Ruud.  He had already established himself as a top 10 player, but prior to this season, was predominantly thought of as a clay court specialist, with five of his six ATP titles coming on that surface.  Yet that all changed this season, starting in Miami when he reached his first Masters 1000 finals.  Casper would go on to also reach his first two Major finals, in Paris in New York.  He is now 51-21, and into his fourth big final of the year.


Sunday’s action in Turin starts at 4:00pm local time with the doubles championship match, featuring Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic (4) vs. Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury (2).  Both teams are an undefeated 4-0 this past week.  This is Ram and Salisbury’s second consecutive year in the final, having lost a year ago to Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut.  Mektic won this title two years ago alongside Wesley Koolhof, while this is Pavic’s first appearance in the final of this event.  These teams have not met since the semifinals of this tournament last year, when Ram and Salisbury prevailed.


Casper Ruud (3) Novak Djokovic (7) – Not Before 7:00pm

Ruud is 3-1 this past week, with his only loss coming in a dead rubber against Rafael Nadal.  Prior to his three top 10 victories across the last seven days, Casper only had two all season (Zverev, Auger-Aliassime).  And he is yet to win a title above 250-level in his career, with the aforementioned three losses this year in big finals.  Ruud was a semifinalist here a year ago in his ATP Finals debut.

Djokovic is an undefeated 4-0 this week, which includes an arduous effort to defeat Daniil Medvedev on Friday in a dead rubber.  Novak is now 10-3 against top 10 opposition in 2022, having taken nine of his last 10 against the top 10.  He is 4-2 in finals this year, though he lost his most recent one, two weeks in Bercy, to Holger Rune.  Djokovic is an eight-time finalist here, though he hasn’t won this title since 2015.

Djokovic has played a lot more tennis across the last two days than Ruud.  On Friday, Novak spent over three hours on court, while Ruud had the day off.  But Djokovic still looked plenty fresh for his semifinal on Saturday against Taylor Fritz, and was able to prevent the American from extending that tight contest to a third set.  Novak is 3-0 against Casper, which includes a straight-set victory at this same event a year ago.  And considering Ruud’s poor record in significant finals, Djokovic is a considerable favorite to win his sixth title at the ATP Finals on Sunday.


Sunday’s full Order of Play is here.

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ATP Finals: Fritz Close But No… Final, Djokovic Advances

Novak Djokovic beats Taylor Fritz in two tie-breaks and is just one win away from his sixth title at Nitto ATP Finals

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Novak Djokovic - 2022 Nitto ATP Finals Turin (photo Twitter @atptour)

[7] N. Djokovic b. [8] T. Fritz 7-6(5) 7-6(5)

 

Even when physically not at his best, Novak Djokovic can still count on his incredible ability to play the most effective tennis in the most important moment. Of course, it doesn’t hurt if the opponent misses an easy shot while attempting to close out the set, but the pressure Djokovic puts on whomever is on the other side of the net makes even the easiest shot look a little bit harder.

The former world no. 1 has put together a clinical display of efficiency during the first semifinal of the Nitto ATP Finals in Turin edging Taylor Fritz by two points in the tie-breaker of each set to reach his eighth finals in the end-of-year Championship.

It was not the best Djokovic, and it was not the best match: lots of errors on both sides, and a huge opportunity for Fritz to take the match to the distance when he served at 5-4 in the second set and then missed an easy backhand sitter to go a set-point up at 40-30, blaming an idiot spectator who indeed shouted in the middle of the point, when he really should have been able to put away that point blindfolded.

Fritz did not start the match in the best possible way: 10 unforced errors during the first five games, a break conceded at love at 2-2 and Djokovic appeared destined for a relatively quiet afternoon. But it was not going to be that easy: errors started flowing also on the Serbian side, and Fritz was able to equalize at 3-3. A tie-break was then needed to decide the winner of the first set, and the deciding point was a laser forehand down the line by Djokovic who swept point and set at 6-5 and headed off to the toilet for a comfort break after taking a one-set advantage.

But the break did not do him much good: unforced errors kept coming from the baseline, and Fritz blitzed 2-0 up with a break. At 4-3, the American wowed the Italian crowd with a magical backhand stop-volley to recover a service game where he found himself down 0-30, but when it was time to serve out the set, he missed that easy backhand we described earlier to give Djokovic another chance to close out a match in two sets.

And another chance is the last thing Djokovic should be gifted, although on a day like today, with Christmas time upon us, gift trading became the thing of the match. Two great points at 4-4 in the tie-break warmed the 12,000-strong crowd at Pala Alpitour to what could have possibly been a great end of the set, but Djokovic first earned a match point to be played on his serve with a good action from the baseline closed by a volley and then squandered it all with a very unusual unforced error on a routine backhand. But on his second match point, just a minute later, Fritz badly missed an inside-out forehand putting an end to the match and gifting Djokovic a chance to win his sixth title at the Nitto ATP Finals, the first in Turin.

On Sunday he will face either Casper Ruud or Andrey Rublev: he has never lost to Ruud in three previous matches (3-0) and the only time he did not beat Rublev (2-1) was last spring in Belgrade in the final of the tournament organized by his family.

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