Shanghai – final

(2)Novak Djokovic d. (3)Andy Murray      5-7, 7-6(11), 6-3          [3:20 h]

The sixth encounter of the season between two 25-year-olds (also Roger Federer has played so many matches with Juan Martin del Potro in 2012); I think they have a good chance to meet at least once again this year, in Paris or London, which is a very good prospect considering how interesting their rivalry has been this year… It was one of the most dramatic finals of the 22-year-old ‘Masters 1000’ history. Early on, Murray displayed his exceptional return skills – Djokovic had lost his serve three times throughout the week, against Murray he was broken four times already in the 1st set! That set was a total roller-coaster, from the very first point the pace was intense, Djokovic took first two games after a couple of ‘deuces’. Afterwards he came back from a break down twice, and leading 5:4* (30/0) was two points away, having Murray’s second serve, but played very bad four points. In the following game, quickly he got 40/0, and repeated the style of the previous game – playing point after point poorly, and losing five of them in succession. It’s not surprising that those two games must have been extremely frustrating, especially that he lost to Murray all tight four sets they’d played recently (5-7 5-7 in London, 6-7 5-7 in New York). Djokovic furiously devastated his racquet striking it four times on the ground. Murray finally held his serve easily, and took the opener after 72 minutes. In the 2nd set they found a way to hold service games, but at 3-all Murray broke, which seemed to be decisive. He led 5:3*, in the 10th game he was serving to win second straight Shanghai final with the same scoreline. At 30/0 for him, Djokovic won a 16-stroke rally with a help of a tweener, finishing the rally with a backhand dropshot. He pumped his fist with a broad smile despite potential triumph was far away at the time, that spontaneous reaction excited the Chinese spectators; up to that point the objective crowd, since then changed its mood cheering loudly for Djokovic. Murray had a match point on serve, but the Serb fought it off with a forehand winner. The Scot lost the game, another one, but kept his composure, feeling own firmly established tradition of winning “match-sets” even when an advantage slips away. He held his serve to ’15’ opening a sensational 22-minute tie-break. Djokovic served a double fault being 3:1 ahead, 6:4 for Murray and a double match point. Djokovic erases it with a forehand and service winners. Already three match points saved, but odds are still against him, historically Murray is much more better in long tie-breaks, which he confirmed also during their US Open final, moreover he is unbeaten at the Shanghai Masters in three appearances there. Now he proves again his capability of dealing very well with two-point advantage breakers as he quickly gets two points from *6:7 after two forehand attacks on Djokovic’s backhand. 8:7 and the fourth match point – Djokovic hits another forehand winner. 9:8 for him, Murray saves second set point with exactly the same manner as the first one – strong forehand shot on Djokovic’s backhand, causing an error. 10:9 Murray, fifth championship point, and the closest one to the title – it’s a rally, Murray attacks Djokovic’s backhand, but the Serb from a difficult position, responds with a flat shot down the line, and Murray netts a forehand. 11:10 Djokovic, his third set point disappears due to conservative ground-strokes. 11-all, very good out-wide serve, Djokovic only tries to keep the ball in play, and Murray standing in the area from which he wins 9 out of 10 similar points, this time sends the ball long! It’s a great gift, Djokovic accepts it and a combination of hard 1st serve and a drive-forehand volley gives him the set, and breaks the pattern of Murray’s winning tight sets in their newest confrontations. The Scot breaks his racquet, however, in less expressive way than Djokovic did it 90 minutes before. At the beginning of the 3rd set the atmosphere calmed down. Both finalists were stretching muscles, exhausting 2nd set took its toll… Another tie-break was probable after six games as they held service games quite comfortably. Murray didn’t survive physically though, in the consequence Djokovic won the last four games of the final, converting his third match point when Murray’s aggressive backhand landed outside the baseline. Djokovic celebrated his 33rd title more gently that winning the 13/11 tie-break. His ability to turn the things around is remarkable, who knows what the future brings, at the moment I’d say he looks like the toughest mental-player of the Open era, only Bjorn Borg is comparable to him in this department. Murray is mentally tough too, but the last two weeks were ironic from his perspective. More than two years he hadn’t lost a set reaching a set point which is very long time given the number of sets he played in the meantime, and suddenly within eight days he loses twice blowing match points (last week to Milos Raonic) “It was a disappointing one to lose,” said Murray. “I’ve lost tougher matches than that before in the biggest events. So I’m sure I’ll recover from it pretty well. The second set, I probably played a little bit better. But he came up, served very well on the match points. The one match point I had on my serve, he hit the forehand onto the edge of the line.” – reference to the point at *6:4 in the tie-break. Stats of the final

Doubles final:
(4)L.Paes/R.Stepanek d. (7)M.Bhupathi/R.Bopanna 6-7(7), 6-3, [10-5]

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3 Responses to Shanghai – final

  1. V.H. says:

    Hey, have a question for you! About saving m.p. matches: You know about any good players who never won a match after saving m.p.’s?

  2. Voo de Mar says:

    I don’t know a notable player who didn’t win/lose such a match. Blake had to wait the longest time to win the first one – 138 tournaments, but now after having played 231 tournaments, he has 5 wins of this type.

    Usually players need around 100 tournaments to experience all the dramatic stuff, so lost/won:
    – m.p. matches,
    – five-setters,
    – matches with deciding tie-break set
    – at least 18-point tie-breaks

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