Novak Djokovic will be looking for the thirteenth grand slam title of his career on Sunday when he takes on Stanislas Wawrinka in the US Open final. Many anticipated that the final would be between Djokovic and Andy Murray for the third time this year but the Scot suffered a shock loss in the quarter finals, allowing Wawrinka to take advantage and provide him with the opportunity to win a third slam title.
Djokovic had a dream run to the finals for someone with injury worries going into the tournament. He was the beneficiary of two retirements and a walkover but would have to complete his semi final even though opponent Gael Monfils didn’t look 100%. The Frenchman was subject to many an unfair criticism after the match due to his struggles in the first two sets. An inspired third set that was more like the Monfils of 2016 took it 4 but Djokovic locked it up quickly, breaking three times in the fourth set to close out the match and come out victorious 6-3 6-2 3-6 6-2.
The matchup with Djokovic is seen as one of the most entertaining on tour and has given us some great matches although they are yet to play this year and Djokovic won the last 2 meetings with final sets of 6-1 and 6-0 respectively. “Well, I haven’t played Stan in some time now. He’s a big match player. He loves to play in the big stage against big players, because that’s when he, I think, elevates his level of performance in his game. Just gets much better.” Djokovic said about his opponent.
More notable were their Australian Open meetings in 2014 and 2015 as well as the French Open final where Wawrinka stopped Djokovic’s attempt to hold all four slam titles. On both occasions that Stan won (2014 Aus, 2015 French), he would win the title while the 2015 Australian Open meeting ended a bit anticlimactically despite going 5 as Djokovic won the final set 6-0.
“I think the matchup always been interesting to see because the way we are playing. I’m trying to be aggressive. I can play really hard. He is amazing defender. And also, where we start. We started with five-set match in Australia a few years ago, 10-8. I was maybe one of the only player who start dominate in two sets and didn’t finish it. I was dominating the match.” said Wawrinka about the matchup and the recent meetings they’ve had.
Despite being third seed, Wawrinka was considered the betting underdog in both his quarter final and semi final matches against Del Potro and Nishikori respectively. He would have to come from a set and break down against Nishikori who faltered as time went on, eventually winning 4-6 7-5 6-4 6-2.
Djokovic defeated a Swiss man in last year’s final and will be heavily favoured to repeat that feat and take home the title. The lack of completed matches for Djokovic is a huge boost and allowed him not to overwork the problematic wrist he has been dealing with. Wawrinka will be able to draw on the fact that he is able to take Djokovic apart at his best although that level of tennis has not been seen as much in 2016. Still, it would be a major shock if lightning were to strike once more with Djokovic being outplayed like 2015 so look for the Serbian to move one step closer to No.17 and further his extend his streak as the world’s best player.
Prediction – Novak Djokovic retains his US Open title in four sets.