Murray Route To The Finals: Group Stage 1st (3-0)
d. Marin Cilic 63 62
d. Kei Nishikori 67 64 64
d. Stanislas Wawrinka 64 62
SF: d. Milos Raonic 57 76 75
Djokovic Route To The Finals: Group Stage 1st (3-0)
d. Dominic Thiem 67 60 62
d. Milos Raonic 76 76
d. David Goffin 61 62
SF: d. Kei Nishikori 61 61
In the perfect way to end the ATP World Tour season, the two clear best players in the world will face off on Sunday night for the ATP World Tour Finals title in London. Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray have been way ahead of the field all year, with a combined 3 slams and 7 Masters 1000 amongst their haul. A fierce battle for the year end No.1 spot will also be decided with the top spot going to the winner thanks to Murray losing his Davis Cup final points in a couple of weeks time. “I hear this is the first time in the history of the ATP that the two best players are deciding the rankings in the last match. That is something we should all be conscious of. I’m excited to go out on the court and battle.” Djokovic said.
Murray had a far from ideal semi final performance, putting him in a bad position going into Sunday evening’s final. He finally saw off an inspired Milos Raonic in 3hr38m, coming from a set and break down to beat the Canadian and saving a match point in the third set. It was up there with the best matches at the end of year event since the move to London and Murray showed why he is No.1 by delivering at the big moments late in both sets. He also set a new British professional record with a 23 match winning streak with this victory. It shows what a massive effort he has put in to get the No.1 ranking as this streak knocked of the 22 match winning streak he had during the summer that lasted from Wimbledon to the Cincinnati final.
Djokovic hadn’t looked impressive earlier in the week but has come into his own in the past two matches, dropping just 5 games against David Goffin and Kei Nishikori. Nishikori was outclassed from start to finish in his 6-1 6-1 loss and was gushing about Djokovic’s performance. “Today I think Novak played pretty awesome.. there’s nothing I can complain about. Physically, I just wasn’t ready to play against Novak.” Nishikori said. It was far from ideal for Nishikori, who was destroyed by Djokovic for the second year running at the WTFs, to play 24 hours after losing a three setter to Marin Cilic.
At the start of the week, Andy Murray was the betting favourite with the new World No.1 in inspired form and Djokovic less so by his high standards. Djokovic had just come off a loss to fellow World Tour Finals competitor Marin Cilic in Paris while Murray had picked up his fourth title in a row. Circumstances have changed and most importantly, the lack of a day off will be incredibly damaging for Murray. His semi final win was over three times as long as Djokovic’s win over Nishikori, an opponent Murray also took three hours to beat in the group stage.
It has been noted that Murray and Djokovic have not met since the French Open final, something that people will point to to almost invalidate Murray’s achievement. More tellingly, it shows how disappointing Djokovic’s second half of the year has been when he hasn’t been able to make a final at the same tournament as Murray in that time span. At 24-10, the head to head has been dominated by Djokovic throughout with no trend you could look at to paint Murray in a positive light. Since the beginning of 2015, Djokovic is 9-2 and it will be a surprise if he fails to make it 10-2 against a tired opponent. If Murray were to win this, it would be up there with one of the great victories in his career.
Prediction – Novak Djokovic in three sets