Djokovic, Murray set for Australian final

Jan. 26, 2013 at 12:03 AM
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MELBOURNE, Jan. 26 (UPI) -- Novak Djokovic goes for tennis history in the finals at the Australian Open but Andy Murray would add luster to a recently glowing resume with a win Sunday.

Djokovic, the world No. 1-ranked player, meets Murray in Sunday's Australian Open final for the second time in three years. They played for the 2011 title, with Djokovic winning in three sets. Djokovic repeated as champion by beating Rafael Nadal in five sets last year.

No one has won the men's singles title in Melbourne three consecutive years since Roy Emerson from 1963-67, before the so-called Open Era. Players such as Ken Rosewall, Guillermo Villas, Johan Kriek, Mats Wilander, Ivan Lendl, Jim Courier, Andre Agassi and Roger Federer have gone for the Australian three-peat since Emerson's run. All have failed.

Federer's try in 2008 was stopped by Djokovic in the semifinals. Djokovic went on to win his first Grand Slam title.

Djokovic has won four major tournaments since then. He's been in two other finals, including last year's U.S. Open, where Murray came away a five-set winner for his first Grand Slam championship. Overall, Djokovic is 10-7 versus Murray.

Murray has also been impressive on the court. He is in the final at the Australian Open for the third time in four years; was a finalist at Wimbledon last year before winning the men's tennis Olympic gold medal and then the U.S. Open title. He's third in the world rankings but is positioning himself to improve even that lofty perch.

Murray has had a strong run to the 2013 finals, dropping just two sets and both of those coming in a 4-hour semifinal Friday against Federer. Even losing two sets, Murray seemed the better player throughout the match, winning 6-4, 6-7 (5-7), 6-3, 6-7 (2-7), 6-2.

Djokovic should be well-rested. He did have a tough fourth-round match -- topping Stanislas Wawrinka in a 5-hour, five-set marathon -- but has lost only three sets in six matches. His semifinal Thursday and was over in 89 minutes as he dismantled fourth-seeded David Ferrer 6-2, 6-2, 6-1.

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