It took the Australian Open defending champion a little less than five hours to defeat Andy Murray in the semifinals of the first Grand Slam of the season. Both players showed signs of weakness at one point or another, and even though Djokovics moments of struggle were much more evident than those of Murray, at the end the Serb took the best of his game to defeat Murray 6-3, 3-6, 6-7 (4), 6-1, 7-5.
Now, the No. 1 ranked player in the world will face the Spaniard Rafael Nadal for the Championship Game on Sunday. If he manages to defeat Nadal in the Australian Open Finals, he will then become part of the elite 5 players who have managed to win three consecutive Grand Slams. The list includes the likes of Rod Laver, Pete Sampras, Roger Federer, and his championship rival, Nadal.
This was an intense match. Murray wanted to find a little vindication since it was the Djoker himself who had stripped him from taking the Australian Open exactly a year ago in the finals. But once again, and despite the phenomenal fight put on by Murray, Djokovic won the match.
Both players recognized that the match was simply extenuating. It was a phenomenal game, filled with momentum swinging plays that kept the crowd at Melbourne Park cheering for the whole 5 hours. “You have to find strength in those moments and energy, and that keeps you going,” said Novak Djokovic in the postgame interview. “At this level, very few points decide the winner. “I think we both went through a physical crisis. You know, him at the fourth set, me all the way through the second and midway through the third. It was a very even match throughout, from the first to the last point.”
Murray hired Ivan Lendl as his personal coach just over six weeks ago. And Murray himself believes that he has already seen quite a positive change in his game. Perhaps with a little more time together, Lendl, an eight-time mayor winner could get Murray to reach the apex of his game. Despite the good fight, it’s got to be a very though setback to deal with. Let’s not forget that before been outplayed in this year’s semifinals, Andy Murray had managed to reach the Australian Open finals on the two previous years. And had lost them both, two Nadal and Djokovic.
It is still uncertain whether Novak Djokovic is still holding on the momentum he build last season, when he had one of the best years ever played by a tennis pro. The Djoker finished last year at No. 1 after winning three of the four majors. His only loss at a Grand Slam came at Roland Garros against Roger Federer, in the French Open Semifinals. Before that, Djokovic had only won a single Grand Slam, the 2008, Australian Open. Then again, he had also missed 11 straight Grand Slam finals, until 2011 kicked in. Now, on Sunday, he will have a chance to get back on the winning steak if he manages to defeat Nadal.