Sunday, 5 June 2016

Novak Djokovic crushes Andy Murray in four sets to claim French Open title at Roland Garros.

Novak Djokovic crushes Andy Murray in four sets to claim French Open title at Roland Garros and complete career Grand Slam

At times it looks like Novak Djokovic has cracked the DNA code of tennis, so totally has he mastered the art of winning when it most matters.
As for Andy Murray, not since Wimbledon 2013 has he found a way to take the three sets necessary to beat the 29-year-old Serb in Grand Slam competition.
So even after Murray produced a staggering level of shot-making to win the opener yesterday, we knew that we were a country mile from dusting down the comparisons with Fred Perry once again. 
Novak Djokovic defeated Andy Murray at Roland Garros on Sunday to claim the French Open for the first time in his career

Novak Djokovic defeated Andy Murray at Roland Garros on Sunday to claim the French Open for the first time in his career
Murray started very promisingly, winning the first set 6-3 but World No 1 Djokovic hit back against the Scot in style

Murray started very promisingly, winning the first set 6-3 but World No 1 Djokovic hit back against the Scot in style
Serbian Djokovic, who had the backing of the crowd at Roland Garros, won the following two sets 6-1 and 6-2

Serbian Djokovic, who had the backing of the crowd at Roland Garros, won the following two sets 6-1 and 6-2
Murray ran out of answers against Djokovic, who has now once again defeated the Scot in the final of a Major tournament

Murray ran out of answers against Djokovic, who has now once again defeated the Scot in the final of a Major tournament
Two-and-a-quarter hours later, the associations duly being made were between Djokovic, Rod Laver and Donald Budge, the only three men to have held all four major titles at once. Murray must content himself with being among nine others in the post-1968 Open era who have reached all four of the finals.
There was something almost supernatural when, after eight days of gloom, the sun came out as the presentation was made to the champion after a 3-6, 6-1, 6-2, 6-4 victory.
The clouds and the weight upon Djokovic’s shoulders lifted almost simultaneously after a triumph that took three hours and three minutes. Finally, at 29, he has the major title he most wanted. He possesses 12 in all now, and in collecting them has denied the Scot the status of serial Slam winner that once looked assured.
It is the world No 2’s misfortune that in his 10 finals he has always been up against Roger Federer or this extraordinary Serbian athlete. The latter could yet plague him for what is left of their careers.
Murray did at least ask the question of him at the end, rediscovering a level of aggression to induce a temporary attack of nerves when he broke back to go from 2-5 to 4-5 and deuce. It was a throwback to a first set that had almost been forgotten.
And the key point of the match actually came swiftly after Murray had taken the opener. 
Murray stretches to make a backhand during his clash against rival Djokovic in the final of the French Open

Murray stretches to make a backhand during his clash against rival Djokovic in the final of the French Open
Murray buries his face in his towel as he tries to consider how force his way back into the final against Djokovic

Murray buries his face in his towel as he tries to consider how force his way back into the final against Djokovic
But Murray struggled to assert himself as the encounter continued, while Djokovic's level carried on rising

But Murray struggled to assert himself as the encounter continued, while Djokovic's level carried on rising
Murray's wife, Kim, watches on as her husband toils in the final of the French Open at Roland Garros on Sunday

Murray's wife, Kim, watches on as her husband toils in the final of the French Open at Roland Garros on Sunday
The Scot crafted a superb forehand winner at deuce in the first game of the second set to earn another break point. The simple narrative would be that he blew it but that was not the case.
Djokovic landed a pinpoint first serve that put his opponent on the back foot immediately. He then drove deep to the backhand and nobody could have done anything better than get a racket on it and hoist a hopeful lob, which was duly smashed away.
That would have been Murray’s chance to build on the momentum that he had built up in a first set that he simply had to win, but instead it evaporated.
The British No 1 knew the importance of winning the first set — he has never beaten Djokovic without doing so — and went out with the commensurate mindset, hurling everything in his armoury at his opponent.
Djokovic would have scored a perfect 10 for the first game when he broke to love but Murray’s response was majestic, reeling off the next four games. His first serve was beautifully oiled and it allowed him to dictate the second ball with his forehand.
The Serb, looking somewhat alarmed, was dumping the ball in the net or long with a highly unusual frequency, suggesting that nerves were getting to him.
Murray’s only distraction was having a pesky French TV reporter removed from one of the two rows occupied by his support group. 
Murray had never beaten Djokovic before after losing the first set, so the significance of it going his way could hardly be overstated

Murray had never beaten Djokovic before after losing the first set, so the significance of it going his way could hardly be overstated
But Djokovic's response was superb and he raised the level of his game after falling behind in the opening stages

But Djokovic's response was superb and he raised the level of his game after falling behind in the opening stages
Djokovic was backed by the crowd at Roland Garros, which Murray struggled to quieten during the encounter in Paris

Djokovic was backed by the crowd at Roland Garros, which Murray struggled to quieten during the encounter in Paris
Already in this tournament Djokovic had looked frayed at the edges on occasions, and remains lucky that a line judge in his quarter-final against Tomas Berdych took evasive action to avoid being hit when he tossed his racket away and it bounced up. But he remained calm under pressure yesterday and by getting a break in the second game took away the match remarkably quickly.
Murray suddenly looked fatigued by his first-set exertions while the champion gathered himself.
His ability to turn defence into attack is an exhausting proposition, and therein lies the problem in playing Djokovic — you cannot sprint for the line after winning the opener.
By the third set the stress was starting to show in Murray’s unshaven features. So, too, were the effects of playing five hours longer than his opponent in the previous rounds, particularly the first two, when he was extended by players from outside the top 100.
At one point in the third, in a rare exclamation to his box, he told them that his legs were gone. His mood was exacerbated by the partisan nature of a Parisian crowd that always has its obnoxious elements.
Someone called a baseline ball long, while there were noises between serves. Murray called out to them to ‘Shut the f*** up’ and complained to umpire Damien Dumusois. Less understandable was his fixation with the overhead moving camera, a long-time totem of annoyance for him at Roland Garros, but which is the same for both players. 
Murray tried to cajole himself into responding to Djokovic's onslaught but the Serbian proved to be too good

Murray tried to cajole himself into responding to Djokovic's onslaught but the Serbian proved to be too good
Djokovic produced a formidable and tireless display to beat Murray in four sets and claimed the fourth 6-4

Djokovic produced a formidable and tireless display to beat Murray in four sets and claimed the fourth 6-4
Djokovic's performance was composed and elegant and his ability to attack from defending positions tired Murray

Djokovic's performance was composed and elegant and his ability to attack from defending positions tired Murray
By now all the key indicators were going against Murray, however well he did to mount the late challenge when all seemed lost. As he reflected afterwards, if only he had not left himself with too much to do in the fourth. It could have become very interesting all over again if he had eked out a second break back with his opponent beginning to panic.
But ultimately he did not serve well enough, which will hurt him. This match was not going to be won with only 50 per cent of first serves going in, and there is nothing your opponent can do to prevent you starting the point off to the best of your ability.
Djokovic can now contemplate winning the authentic calendar year Grand Slam. Such has been Murray’s consistency, and his elevation as clearly the world’s second best, that it would not be a total surprise if he finishes runner-up in the next two majors.
The ‘Silver Slam’ if you like, but it is not a phrase he will enjoy.
Djokovic consoles Murray after confirming his 'silver slam' - it is likely the two will appear in many more finals in the near future

Djokovic consoles Murray after confirming his 'silver slam' - it is likely the two will appear in many more finals in the near future
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