So we’ve got the men’s final that the seedings predicted, though with plenty of upsets along the way and two great semi finals, of which one, Djokovic against Del Potro, was a classic.
Both winners in the men’s semis yesterday faced the problem of having to win against big hitters who provided different problems but one was the difficulty of getting into a rhythm. This was particularly true for Murray, playing against the promising, big serving and big hitting Jerzy Janowicz, the lowest ranked of the semi finalists. For Murray this was another potential banana skin, Janowicz had nothing to lose and came out firing bullets and, despite being set points down on his own serve, ran out the winner of the first set in the breaker.
This is where Murray had to be patient, trusting in himself, as mentioned in the last post, having come back from two sets down builds confidence to deal with situations like this. While Janowicz’s serve is difficult for sheer pace, it doesn’t provide the variety that some players have and being patient, starting to pick direction comes after a while. The top players read the servers body, necessary when there’s only around half a second between the ball being struck and hitting the return. This is one of the reasons Federer’s serve is so difficult to break – he doesn’t hit the ball anywhere near as hard as some but can hit a wide range of serves off the same basic motion, making it one of the most difficult to read.
It became clear during the second set that Murray was starting to pick the Janowicz serve, chipping the first serve back into play to get a foothold into the rallies and doing more when he got a shot at a second serve. Despite being a break down in the third set against a player serving bullets he didn’t panic and, form 4-1 down, managed to win five games in a row, breaking Janowicz twice, to take the set. Despite getting annoyed at the decision to close the roof at the end of the third, potentially disrupting the momentum he had built, he came back and broke early in the fourth to take the match.
The final is tough to pick – Djokovic, dropped the first two sets of the tournament in his semi but played some of his best tennis to overcome a superb display from Del Potro – a big man who can hit the ball with frightening ferocity but also has great touch. Djokovic, himself, said that he believed it was some of the best tennis he had played at Wimbledon, which he needed, given some of Del Potro’s shots, particularly off the forehand.
On the other hand, Murray despite a couple of challenging matches, has come through playing solidly and will have the benefit of the vast majority of the Wimbledon crowd being behind him.
Djokovic has the edge, both in overall head to head and in best of five sets, however, Murray has the experience of outlasting Djokovic in a five set final, at the US Open last year and their only match on grass, the Olympic semi final last year, Murray won in a tight two sets.