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Ask TTI: WWW (Australian Open 2016 Men’s Final Edition)

While we might’ve struck out on our women’s picks thanks to an inspired effort from Angelique Kerber last night, the TTI crew looked into their cracked crystal balls to try and predict the final result of the 2016 Australian Open: the men’s final. Will Novak Djokovic continue his mastery of both Andy Murray and Rod Laver Arena? Or will the World No. 2 finally break his 


These picks for the women’s finals worked really well, didn’t they? Angelique Kerber upset Serena Williams for her first Grand Slam title — some people gave Kerber chances, but few believed she could pull it off.

Now when it comes to the men’s final, I feel it’s time to curb the enthusiasm again. We got a very competitive women’s final — but I really don’t foresee the same on the men’s side, try as I might.

Novak Djokovic has been too good, too consistent after he got the “100” out of his body and played scintillating tennis in the first two sets of his semifinal victory over Roger Federer. Murray’s sole recent win over the Serb came last year in Montreal.

The problem that’s on the cards for the World No. 2 is that Djokovic seems to have stepped up his game even further in the big matches. Unlike Federer’s, Murray’s game is built on a far more similar premise to Djokovic — and the World No. 1 is just that little bit better in so many departments. We’ve seen this match up multiple time in the past few years, particularly in Melbourne, and few have gone well for Murray.

I’ll even give you a score line: 6-4, 6-2, 7-5.

Prediction: Djokovic in three sets


Djokovic was the unanimous pick pre-tournament and he hasn’t done anything to suggest he shouldn’t be the pick as we approach the final. (Well, besides that one time he hit 100 unforced errors against Gilles Simon, but I think we can all agree to pretend that never happened.)

While Murray did beat him in one big match last year — the Canadian Masters final — Djokovic has mostly owned the Brit when it matters, winning every other meeting since the “famous” Wimbledon final, including three meetings at slams. I expect Djokovic to continue his recent dominance of Murray and, though he could mess around and lose a set like last year, win his sixth Australian Open title with relative ease.

Prediction: Djokovic in four sets.


With Angelique Kerber’s incredible underdog victory against Serena Williams last night against every imaginable odd, I almost feel inspired to go with Murray in some dramatic scoreline to upend the King Down Under after three prior failed attempts.


Murray has had a decent route to the finals, facing players whom which he has historically had quite a bit of success over. Although navigated his way past an injured Milos Raonic in the semifinals with steadfast and calculated counterpunching, he was overwhelmed for parts of the match where he was outmaneuvered tactically. Given Djokovic’s mastery of this Grand Slam, his opponent, and of tennis in general as of late, I’ll pick him win it all (again) in three tight sets.

Prediction: Djokovic in three sets


Murray and Djokovic in the Australian Open final is about as worn out as any matchup in tennis. Djokovic has beaten the Brit in their last three meetings in the final Down Under (2011, 2013, 2015), and Murray also lost to Djokovic in the 2012 semifinal: a match that at the moment has gone down as their closest Melbourne encounter.

Murray will be working on less rest and coming off a more physically taxing semifinal. Murray could adopt Simon’s fourth round strategy and look to wear Djokovic down, hoping the Serb delivers a poor performance. More likely, however, he’ll have to up the ante offensively and take it to Djokovic.

Djokovic is simply the better player in this matchup and has dominated Murray since their 2013 Wimbledon final. I just don’t see Murray doing enough offensively and keeping his emotions together over the course of a best of five sets match against Djokovic.

Pick: Djokovic in four sets


It’s difficult to ask a player to beat someone who does everything just a touch better, but that’s exactly the reality that Murray faces every time he goes up against Djokovic. This is particularly tougher in Grand Slams — where Murray is asked to do just that over a longer period of time than in another event.

This tournament, historically, brings out the best in the World No. 1 — and this year, he’s been getting better ever since his fourth round showing against Simon. I think Murray is playing well enough to sneak out a set should things fall into place, but overall, I don’t anticipate much of a change in how their recent meetings Down Under have ended: with Djokovic winning, and/or holding the trophy.

Pick: Djokovic in four sets

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