Those who witnessed Andy Murray overcome yet another mental hurdle against Roger Federer in the semifinals of the 2013 Australian Open on Friday know that the 25-year-old Scotsman has become a different player than the frustrated, undisciplined youngster of yore.
That's why it's not out of the question that Murray will defeat Novak Djokovic in the final on Sunday.
But that doesn't mean Murray will win.
I went on the record and predicted Murray would win this year's Australian Open before the tournament. Given the way he played on Friday, you can see why.
But after the grueling five-set marathon that lasted four hours, I have my doubts that Murray will be able to outwork Djokovic on Sunday.
While Murray found himself in a battle on Friday, Djokovic disposed of No. 4 seed David Ferrer in straight sets, 6-2, 6-2, 6-1. He was simply dominant and the stats speak for themselves. Djokovic won 91 percent of first serve points, 79 percent of second serve points and 81 percent of net points, via AustralianOpen.com. He was also 7-of-7 on break points while notching 30 winners to 16 unforced errors.
The result was a smooth-sailing victory in one hour, 29 minutes.
For me, it has more to do with Djokovic's fresh legs than anything. I could conceivably see Murray beating Djokovic if both were well-rested on Sunday, but that extra set Murray had to play against Federer may be his undoing in Melbourne.
We all know neither player is going to win in straight sets in the final. Both Djokovic and Murray are on top of their games, which is why many expect big things out of both of them this year.
The final will likely go at least four sets, if not five. I don't think Murray can beat Djokovic in four sets in Melbourne, so he would likely have to beat the Serb in five sets, which, of course, isn't an ideal scenario for a player who just gave his all in the semifinals.
Look for Djokovic to win his third consecutive Australian Open title on Sunday, making history in the process.
What are your thoughts?
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