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US Open Final Preview: Becker, Stich Expect Tough Battle

New York, U.S.A.

Djokovic, Murray© Getty ImagesNovak Djokovic played Andy Murray at the London 2012 Olympic semi-finals in August.

Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray first played one another at an under-12 tournament in the south of France in 1998. Today, they square-off in the US Open final.

Djokovic has won 27 hard-court Grand Slam championship matches in a row. Murray beat Djokovic 7-5, 7-5 in the semi-finals of the London 2012 Olympics Tennis Event in early August, but Djokovic leads 8-6 overall in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series.

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Former World No. 1 and 1990 US Open champion Boris Becker, writing in The Daily Telegraph of London, says, “Andy has to force the issue, because you cannot let Novak dictate the rallies. The goal is to control the centre of the court: whoever manages to do less running will come out on top.

“Both finalists have similar games, with backhand wings that are incredibly secure, and a forehand side that can occasionally falter under pressure. When they played [at the Australian Open] in January, Andy used a heavy cross-court forehand to disrupt Novak’s rhythm and force him out wide of the court. It doesn’t work so well on the backhand, because Novak has that amazing ability to slide into a wide ball and slam it up the line.”

Becker’s compatriot, Michael Stich, the 1991 Wimbledon champion, told BBC Five Live, "I don't think [Murray] will be thinking about the pressure from his other final defeats. He will just remember the win at the Olympics and that is what he will base his confidence on. Djokovic can always lift his game in the final of a Grand Slam. He knows what it takes to win them. But with the form he is in, the confidence he has, Murray knows he can win."

With help from IBM, the official statistics provider of the US Open, here is how Djokovic and Murray have fared in their six matches en route to the final.

Player Djokovic Murray
Total Time Played 11 hrs., 40 mins. 16 hrs., 57 mins.
Aces (Double Faults) 44 (7) 57 (21)
Sets Played 19 23
Total Games Played 153 202
First Serve Points Won 78.5% 76.6%
Second Serve Points Won 61% 52.3%
Net Points Won 65.5% (80/124) 70/8% (92/134)
Receiving Points Won 47.8% (237/508) 42.6% (292/702)
Winners 202 236
Unforced Errors 117 163

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