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Murray v Djokovic: Five of their best matches

Andy Murray looks to the skies after his four-set win
by Dan Imhoff
Saturday 6 July 2013

When the world’s top two ranked players meet for the Wimbledon title on Sunday it will be the third time in the past four Grand Slam finals they have clashed. It is a rivalry that has gathered steam in the past two years, with Djokovic leading their head-to-head 11-7. Wimbledon.com takes a look at five of their most pivotal battles in chronological order

2011: Australian Open final. Djokovic bt Murray 6-4, 6-2, 6-3

While more one-sided than their 2013 duel on Rod Laver Arena, the Serbian's level in the 2011 decider was sublime. He came into the title match having taken down defending champion Roger Federer in the semi-finals while Murray entered his third Grand Slam final, his second in Melbourne after falling to Federer on the same stage the year before.  Both players stood toe-to-toe until 4-5 in the first set when Murray was serving to staying in the set at 15-30 and looked to have had the point won several times over.  The Serb eventually forced his opponent into error, his relentless shoe-screeching sliding from the baseline keeping the point alive in what would end up a 38-stroke rally. It was Djokovic’s second Australian Open crown and the hangover of a third convincing final loss for Murray lingered well after as he failed to win a match in his next three tournaments.

2011: Rome 1000 semi-final. Djokovic bt Murray  6-1, 3-6, 7-6(2)

Playing on Murray’s least-preferred surface and with Djokovic looking to extend his extraordinary unbeaten run to 38 matches, it seemed the most unlikely of settings for the fourth-seeded Scot to pull off the upset. Having dropped the first set 6-1, he recovered to level at a set apiece, carrying his momentum to a break of serve in the decider. However, two crucial double faults while serving for the match at 5-4 allowed Djokovic back into the match, the Serb dominating in the tie-break 7-2 to eek out a place in the final against Rafael Nadal, after three hours and two minutes. "Obviously it's a great run," Murray said of Djokovic’s winning streak. "I'm just disappointed with myself that I should have ended it tonight."

2012: Australian Open semi-final, Djokovic bt Murray – 6-3, 3-6, 6-7(4), 6-1, 7-5

Murray had only employed the services of Ivan Lendl as his coach on his way to the Brisbane title a few weeks earlier and despite an inspired push in a near-five-hour display, it was the defending champion Djokovic who battled breathing problems and fatigue to hold off a late surge from the Scot. The Serb let slip a chance to close out the match, serving for it at 5-3 in the decider, with Murray breaking to love and going on to level at 5-5. "You have to find strength in those moments and energy, and that keeps you going," Djokovic said. "At this level, very few points decide the winner ... It was a physical match ... it was one of the best matches I played. Emotionally and mentally it was equally hard." Cementing their rivalry the pair would go on to play seven times in 2012, with Djokovic eventually tilting the ledger 4-3 in his favour, but this was arguably the highest quality match between the two.

2012: London Olympics semi-final, Murray bt Djokovic – 7-5, 7-5

Big questions were being asked of Murray as he carried the weight of a medal-hungry British public on the very stage he suffered his fourth straight Grand Slam final loss on only a month before. He entered the match surrounded by a packed Union-Jack swirling crowd, and finished a 55-minute first set with a cracking forehand winner. "It's the most fun I've had at any tournament," Murray said after upsetting the No.2 seed. Between them they only committed 29 unforced errors and one double fault, setting the platform for Murray to go on and claim Olympic gold against Federer in the final.

2012: US Open final, Murray won – 7-6(10), 7-5, 2-6, 3-6, 6-2

Carrying his coach’s unenviable Open era record of none-from-four in Grand Slam finals coming into the New York decider, Murray had an equally burdensome task of trying to end Great Britain’s 76-year drought at the majors. Wild winds wreaked havoc on both players’ games on a blustery Arthur Ashe Stadium, but it was the Scot who drew first blood taking a marathon first-set tie-break 12-10. Despite wasting a two-sets-to-love lead, he handled the conditions better and went on to snap Djokovic’s 27-match winning streak on hard-courts at the slams "When I realised I had won, I was a little bit shocked, I was very relieved and I was very emotional," Murray said. The four hours and 54 minutes tussle – which included a 55-shot rally – tied the record for the longest US Open final.

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