Andy Murray was two points away from exacting revenge for his Australian Open final thumping by Novak Djokovic. He was two points from ending the Serbians 2011 unbeaten streak. He was two points away from playing his first final since the AO but instead Djokovic clawed his way back to force a tie break in his third set against Murray before securing a spot in his seventh consecutive final in 2011. The final will be Djokovic’s fourth against Rafael Nadal in almost as many weeks, having beaten the Spaniard last weekend in Madrid to claim his sixth title for the year.
Despite the 1-6, 6-3, 6-7 loss, Murray still believes he’s a chance for this years Roland Garros title. “I’m one of the best closers in tennis and I very rarely, especially against the best players, lose matches when serving. But I played a bad game and I made two double faults. It was good match and I had chances to win. He played very well in the first set and I did not really get into it. I think after that, especially towards the end of the second and third sets, there was some very good tennis.
I can compete with those guys and I am going to need to play like that and even better if I want to win the French Open.”
Before Murray gets his chance in Paris, Nole and Rafa will duke it out again. It will be an interesting match to watch, Rafa desperate to beat Nole before going into Paris to claim some confidence and take his 6th Rome title in 7 year, his 20th overall Masters 1000 title. Lately, however, Djokovic has had Nadal’s number.
Despite being unwell with a fever this week Nadal has worked himself into some form producing the best clay court play, with the most aggression, that we’ve seen from him all season against Gasquet. The question remains can he keep it going?
Apparently Nole has also been battling a cold and a little bit of fatigue this week after not losing a match for the entire season so far. After his match against Murray, Novak said he was a little tired but didn’t seem overwhelmed by the task ahead. “Obviously I’m a bit exhausted after this match but I’m going to do my best to recover for tomorrow. It’s another final and I will just go out on the court and try to play my best.”
It’s hard to back Rafa when Djokovic has been playing so well but I’m going to back the Spaniard in three sets because I think not only is Nole getting a bit tired (and if he isn’t he should be) but I think Rafa wants it more and its different playing Nadal on clay in Rome and Madrid. No disrespect to Novak but the altitude in Madrid really does seem to affect Nadal’s game.
Both Nadal and Djokovic have played a lot of tennis lately. Both are tired but I think, more I hope, Rafa will take this one. To be quite honest what Djokovic has done is nothing short of phenomenal but I’m ready to see someone else win for a change (not that Nadal winning on clay is a huge change).