Djokovic edges out spirited Murray

By for MurraysWorld.com on
Andy Murray went down 4-6, 6-3, 7-5 against the top seed Novak Djokovic in the second round robin match at the ATP World Tour Finals after another two and a half hour classic.

After breaking early in the third set Djokovic seemed to be heading towards a fairly straightforward victory, but Murray would not die down and in the final 20 minutes there were more ups and downs than a fiddlers elbow. However the world number one eventually prevailed, fending off more break points in the final game to all but secure his place in the semi-finals.
   
Murray got off to the perfect start, setting up a break point in the opening game courtesy of a couple of errors from the Serb. The Brit struggled to convert his chances in the opening set against Berdych on Monday but there was no repeat of that today; he hit a stunning backhand down the line which Djokovic could only block, before racing forwards to finish off the point and seal the first break of the match.

The home favourite had definitely started the stronger and he won his first 11 points on serve, opening up a 4-2 lead with some pinpoint serving and a handful of Djokovic errors. The world number one was staying with the Brit but couldn’t even muster a break opportunity, and in the ninth game Murray found himself with another break point – this one for the set. But this seemed to awaken the top seed and he averted the danger with a powerful forehand winner, forcing Murray to serve it out.

But the US Open champion remained calm and serve it out he did – another love game ensuring the opening set, without dropping a single point behind the first serve.

There was no repeat of the opening game from the first set, with Djokovic holding comfortably this time around. In the third game however Murray was able to forge another break point, but this time Djokovic was equal to it, firing a drive volley right into the corner to save it.

And that would prove to be a critical moment in the match.

Despite a blistering forehand from the Scot in the next game, it was the top seed that finally made the breakthrough, firing a volley winner for break point before Murray hit a volley long. The Serb was now firing on all cylinders, holding with ease for 5-2 as the third seed struggled to find consistency.  And the world number one wrapped up the second set with a love hold to take it into a deciding set.

The momentum was entirely with the top seed now and in game three he broke again. Murray’s focus seemed to have gone and he was spraying errors all over the place, allowing Djokovic to capitalise and take the lead for the first time in the match. The world number one was now playing some of his best tennis and Murray was struggling to live with him, clinging on to his own serve down 3-1, fending off another break point.

And at 4-2 Murray again found himself in trouble, but again he managed to fight his way out, helped by a shanked forehand from Djokovic on break point. And suddenly, the match was all square. The Scot stepped it up a level and somehow managed to find a way to break back and level the match, despite having been on the brink of defeat. Such are the fine margins of tennis.

The pendulum had swung again and now Murray was causing the problems, holding for a 5-4 lead before finding himself two points from the match at 15-30. But Djokovic is not the top ranked player in the world for nothing, and the Serb came roaring back. The world number one staved off the danger before pouncing on the Murray serve, breaking again at the vital moment to lead 6-5.

But Murray came back again, forging two more break points. He was unable to force the tie-break though, as Djokovic found his serve when it mattered most. Three first serves in succession from the Serb and within a matter of seconds it had gone from break points to match point. And this proved one point too many for Murray, eventually firing it long to bring an end to another classic between the two rivals.

Murray will now face the world number eight Jo-Wilfried Tsonga on Friday in a must-win clash.
Still think Andy was awesome today, Great match, in fact outstanding! Don't want to hear any negatives, some shots Andy produced nobody would have been able to return, but Novak did, he is not No.1 in the world for nothing! Andy is so close to Novak it's exciting!
November 07, 2012, 05:09 PM
By ChrisMac

Still think Andy was awesome today, Great match, in fact outstanding! Don't want to here any negatives, some shots Andy produced nobody would have been able to return, but Novak did, he is not No.1 in the world for nothing! Andy is so close to Novak it's exciting!
Yes your so right chris mac , amazing match , still think Andy will qualify , and win the final. Come Andy still all to play for.
 cmon yeah
November 07, 2012, 05:12 PM
By deb

I'm glad you were watching the same match as me CM - reading the comments of some others it would seem they were watching a different match.
November 07, 2012, 05:12 PM
By Alis

Great report MH.  clap
November 07, 2012, 05:13 PM
By deb

Brilliant report, fair and accurate.  Dissapointing that Andy lost but both players were awesome, surely these are the best two players in the world. Some people's comments on here are terrible, get behind Andy and support him, he did not Choke, he came up against the No. 1 player in the world.  The margins between them are tiny.  Come on Andy.
November 07, 2012, 05:27 PM
By Murray Magic

Everyone whose posted on here so far did indeed watch the same match
1st set outplayed Nole
2nd Nole outplayed Andy
3rd as close as a honeymoon couple. Whistle
Come on Andy yay
November 07, 2012, 05:32 PM
By blueberryhill

So right there MM, Andy did not choke, or was I watching a different game! Any so called Andy fan should eat there words! Wish there was a place where people could feel as passionate about Andy as me. I come across it here, the so call Murray forum and I get texts from so called Andy fans ripping him up! Piss off, and leave me be, I am a Andy Murray fan through wins and losses, he is and always be my favourite tennis player!
November 07, 2012, 05:42 PM
By ChrisMac

Updated after Berdych's victory over Tsonga:

As it stands:

1 Djokovic - 2-0 - 4/1
2 Murray - 1-1 - 3/3
3 Berdych - 1-1 - 3/3
4 Tsonga - 0-2 - 1/4

Murray and Djokovic win -> qualifies 2nd

Murray wins in 2, Berdych wins in 2 -> qualifies 1st
Murray wins in 2, Berdych wins in 3 -> qualifies 2nd
Murray wins in 3, Berdych wins in 2 -> doesn't qualify
Murray wins in 3, Berdych wins in 3 -> qualifies 2nd

Murray loses in 2 -> doesn't qualify
Murray loses in 3, Berdych wins -> doesn't qualify
Murray loses in 3, Djokovic wins -> qualifies 2nd

Quite simply - a straight sets win will guarantee qualification. A three set win would be all but enough, unless Berdych beats Djokovic in straight sets.

If Murray loses, he will still qualify if he wins a set and Djokovic beats Berdych.
November 07, 2012, 05:48 PM
By TheMadHatter

So right there MM, Andy did not choke, or was I watching a different game! Any so called Andy fan should eat there words! Wish there was a place where people could feel as passionate about Andy as me. I come across it here, the so call Murray forum and I get texts from so called Andy fans ripping him up! Piss off, and leave me be, I am a Andy Murray fan through wins and losses, he is and always be my favourite tennis player!

Right there with you, I don't wear Rose tinted murrayspectacles but love the guy for his individual style and amazing talent, that match today was of the highest quality which the No. 3 seed narrowly lost to the No. 1 seed, no disgrace there.  Hate some of the bitterness being directed towards Andy, he did not choke, it was not disgusting, it was the two best players in the world going for it.  Andy has the potential to be the No. 1 player in the world, the margins are so small.  Just hope he does not visit this site for inspiration as some comments today have been beyond decent.  Come on Andy.......
November 07, 2012, 05:50 PM
By Murray Magic

Sorry but who is saying he choked? A different thread i take it?

I always thought that if Andy won today, he would loose the final against Novak and if he lost, he would win in the final against him.
November 07, 2012, 06:04 PM
By drchef

Right there with you, I don't wear Rose tinted murrayspectacles but love the guy for his individual style and amazing talent, that match today was of the highest quality which the No. 3 seed narrowly lost to the No. 1 seed, no disgrace there.  Hate some of the bitterness being directed towards Andy, he did not choke, it was not disgusting, it was the two best players in the world going for it.  Andy has the potential to be the No. 1 player in the world, the margins are so small.  Just hope he does not visit this site for inspiration as some comments today have been beyond decent.  Come on Andy.......

Just had to bring this post along further up the thread MM! You found all the right words that I could not. Anyone  said choke, or disgusting  definitely did not watch the same match as I did!  C'Mon Andy!!
November 07, 2012, 06:04 PM
By ChrisMac

Andy played a great game, good report. haven't read any of the posts except those on this page. I think 
Andy will get to the semi's and the final, then we can see what happens. Am I right that Berdych needs to beat Tsonga or does it depend on Andy beating Tsonga, or what?
November 07, 2012, 06:12 PM
By michelle

Great match report from someone who was watching the same match as me. That's reassuring. For a second I was worried the crisps and dry roasted peanuts I needed during the match had gone to my head.

The margins between Djokovic and Andy are so tight, it's incredible. With both of them still just 25 we could have years of these sorts of matches ahead. That's why I think we have to accept that it is just a case of some you win, some you lose.

I'm no expert, but to me, right now, we are watching the two best players in the world by an absolute country mile. I really do think next year, unless something bizarre happens, they are going to challenge each other for that no.1 spot.

If Andy had played a bad match today he might deserve criticism. The point is, he didn't. He was brilliant in the first set, every inch the slam champion he now is. In the second Djokovic found his game and maybe, just maybe, Andy's level dropped a bit.

What I think people need to look at is what happened in the third. Andy, in the past, might well have got frustrated with himself and gone away. Today he really fought his backside off to level the third and get the break, but Djokovic just edged him out.

As far as I'm concerned, as long as Andy is still there he can qualify. If he can qualify, in my view, he can win. One step at a time though.
November 07, 2012, 06:13 PM
By teejay1

After over another 2 hour 3 set match, the scores were 1 set all and 5 games all, there is really nothing between these 2 players skill wise, in the end it usually comes down to luck (djoko's tweener in shanghai) or centimetres on the court.
November 07, 2012, 06:22 PM
By The Gnome

Wasn't able to watch but from the match report, the posts and the stats on the bbc website [and also the report there] sounds like another classic so I'll probably watch the recorded version when I get back home some time even though Andy lost.  But also sounds like on another thread the usual negative brigade have been jumping on Andy the minute he didn't show perfection.  I think I'll keep away from that thread as it might make me too angry.  Thanks to all of you defending Andy here.
But omg I am going to be beyond nervous on Friday and will be there to see Andy vs jwt.  The permutations are so complicated now that can't work out who I should be rooting for tonight tactically.     confused
November 07, 2012, 06:35 PM
By Ruthie

Still think Andy was awesome today, Great match, in fact outstanding! Don't want to hear any negatives, some shots Andy produced nobody would have been able to return, but Novak did, he is not No.1 in the world for nothing! Andy is so close to Novak it's exciting!
Yes - a very positive viewpoint but I'm disappointed he didn't win. Their matches are very special but I thought it might have been Andy's turn to win. I love Andy's more aggressive approach and all the improvements he has made in his game and I know he is still working on so much with Lendl. Next year will be very interesting.
November 07, 2012, 06:35 PM
By janscribe

Wasn't able to watch but from the match report, the posts and the stats on the bbc website [and also the report there] sounds like another classic so I'll probably watch the recorded version when I get back home some time even though Andy lost.  But also sounds like on another thread the usual negative brigade have been jumping on Andy the minute he didn't show perfection.  I think I'll keep away from that thread as it might make me too angry.  Thanks to all of you defending Andy here.
But omg I am going to be beyond nervous on Friday and will be there to see Andy vs jwt.  The permutations are so complicated now that can't work out who I should be rooting for tonight tactically.     confused
Tsonga.

Tsonga wins tonight, all Andy has to do is win. Berdych wins tonight then it means we're relying on Djokovic to beat Berdych on Friday, or else it really gets complicated.
November 07, 2012, 06:37 PM
By TheMadHatter

Looking at all MH's permutations - does that mean that best case scenario would be for Tsonga to win in 3 tonight?
November 07, 2012, 06:41 PM
By Alis

in truth  I hate this match up tbh.         2 similar players.     It is is not my fav match up.  They rallies  that they play are mostly up the middle.  There is a lot of pushing imo, and if Andy won   I still wouldn't of called it a classic.  I don't know how you can call it a classic   Think The stats did not look pretty at all.      lots of UE s
November 07, 2012, 06:44 PM
By backhandslice

in truth  I hate this match up tbh.         2 similar players.     It is is not my fav match up.  They rallies  that they play are mostly up the middle.  There is a lot of pushing imo, and if Andy won   I still wouldn't of called it a classic.  I don't know how you can call it a classic   Think The stats did not look pretty at all.      lots of UE s

There were lots of UE's in the USO final too. Was that not a classic?
November 07, 2012, 07:00 PM
By teejay1

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