@DjokerNole is the one to beat

Djokovic vs. Murray Preview

Tonight, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray will play their quarterfinal match at the US Open tennis tournament. This match could be the best up until this part of the tournament, and tennis fans and experts are eagerly expecting it. Djokovic leads 12-8 in head to head matches (13-8 if we count one exhibition match), and he won the only match they played this season, in Miami, in straight sets, 7:5, 6:3.

However, Murray won two out of their three previous matches in Grand Slam tournaments, and both of them were in the final – US Open and Wimbledon, the only Grand Slam titles Murray has won up to date. Djokovic is in the better form at the moment, he took over Wimbledon from Murray this year, and as the number one on the ATP rank list, he is the favorite to clinch the title in USA too. Until the match against Tsonga in fourth round, Murray didn’t win against anyone from the top 10 this season, and the games he’s been playing in this tournament were probably the best he played all year. He lost only one set in this year’s tournament, and he could be up to a challenge in the match against Djokovic. However, in the match against Tsonga, the Frenchman had a break up in two sets, and he could convert it, because of the big amount of unforced errors. Murray played solidly from both ends, and he rarely makes unforced errors, so it is very hard to win points against him.

Having all that in mind, it is obvious that the outcome of the match depends on Djokovic. However, in their matches it is very hard to predict how things will unfold.

Djokovic started off with four victories in a row against Murray in the ATP tour. Most people believed at that time that Murray, who was often very nervous and could completely fall apart against the toughest opponents, would never reach his potential, and maybe not even ever get to beat Djokovic, but he responded fantastically, beating Novak three times in a row.

After Djokovic’s fantastic 2011 season, he was thought to be the next undisputable ruler of the ATP circuit, but after that, he lost his supremacy and even lost two Slam finals to Murray, who had a terrible record in the finals until then.

So, this match is very unpredictable. Djokovic is certainly a favorite, but in their match, current form doesn’t have to be a decider. It is entirely possible that the player in the better mood on the eve of the match will win.

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ATP Picks: US Open

Flushing Meadow, Queens NY

US OpenThe US Open is the fourth and final Grand Slam of the year and could decide whether Roger Federer might implausibly re-claim the number 1 spot at the end of the year. Federer has enjoyed a purple patch in recent months with Stefan Edberg in his corner, transforming his game into a more aggressive serve and volley style, which is helping preserve his body and take it to the base-liners.

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The Federer Express: Back to his best?

4-time runner up Novak Djokovic is looking for only his 2nd US Open title and has had a rough patch since Wimbledon. Don’t expect him to wilt though. Andy Murray is returning to form and could be in the mix for the title. With Rafa out, Milos Raonic is also a good outside bet for the title with a 34-12 record this year.

Night matches tend to inspire, so expect a few upsets, long 5 setters and miracle shots under the lights.

Wildcards go to: Michael Llorda, Marcos Giron, Wayne Odesnik, Noah Rubin, Bernard Tomic, Ryan Harrison, Jared Donaldson and Tim Smyczek.

Let’s break it down:

ATP Level: Grand Slam

Surface: Outdoor Hard

Defending Champion: 
Rafael Nadal – Forced out with injury; a boon for the Big 3.

Nasty Floater: Jerzy ‘Poleaxe’ Janowicz – The former #14 is putting his game back together and could be a threat to Cilic or Anderson’s plans.

Up and Coming: Noah Rubin – The American 18 year old junior Wimbledon champion gets a wildcard.

Slumping: Tomas ‘Berdman’ Berdych – Since the French Open has not made it past a quarter final. Gets Lleyton Hewitt 1st round for the marquee match.

On Fire: Roger Federer – The Swiss Army Knife arrives off a big win in Cincinnati. No Nadal to worry about  – looking confident.

My pick: Novak Djokovic  – Despite patchy results, the Wimbledon champ rises to the occasion at the Slams. 

Did You Know? The completion of the retractable roof for Arthur Ashe Stadium is scheduled for August 2017.

Watch: Behind the scenes

Thanks for reading and check back in two weeks for more tips!

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ATP Picks: Winston Salem

Winston-Salem Open

A stop-gap before the US Open, the Winston Salem Open has enjoyed a strong first 3 years. This year, the field is strong with some big players looking to fine tune their weapons before the big battle in New York.

Americans John Isner and Sam Querry will have massive support here. Local boy Isner, gets a good draw where he could face white-hot Tommy Robredo in the semi-finals. Querry who has struggled for the last couple of years, seems to be playing better hard court tennis of late, although he lost to Robredo in Cincinnati last week. He gets a tough bottom quarter however and would need to dispatch Kevin Anderson and Steve Johnson to make the quarter finals.

Wild cards go to: Kevin Anderson, Ryan Harrison, Noah Rubin and Robby Ginepri

Winston-Salem Open at Wake Forest University

Winston-Salem Open at Wake Forest University

Let’s break it down:

ATP Level: 250

Surface: Outdoor Hard

Defending Champion:
Jurgen ‘Tuna’ Melzer – 33 year old Melzer not having the year he did last year, struggling with injury. Returns with an 11-10 match record.

Nasty Floater: Steve Johnson – Put down Ernests Gulbis last week and playing very well.

Up and Coming: Pablo Carreno Busta – The 23 year old Spaniard may prefer clay but he’s one to watch here. 

Slumping: Ryan Harrison – Seeks his first tour-level win since March after being awarded a wild card. Only 4-11 on the year.

On Fire: Tommy ‘Can You Hear Me’ Robredo – Comes into Winston-Salem on the back of a strong week in Cincinnati, where he defeated World No. 1 Novak Djokovic in the third round.

My pick: ‘Long’ John Isner – Two-time champion on home ground bringing a 10-0 event record and bidding to win his third title of the season

Did You Know? The first two editions of the Winston-Salem Open at Wake Forest University in 2011 celebrated the crowning of North Carolina-native John Isner as the singles champion.

Thanks for reading and check back next week for more picks!