Is Andy Murray the Man to Stop Novak Djokovic at the US Open?

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The pain was too much. The body to weary. Winning both Montreal and Cincinnati is a gruesome task, even for someone with a nearly perfect year like Novak Djokovic. His second loss of the 2011 tennis season came before Andy Murry could win the second set. Djokovic’s shoulder was killing him. Andy Murray made quick and easy work against the World’s number one, winning 6-4 and 3-0 before Djokovic raised the white flag.

After Djokovic’s disappointing finish to another win streak (his record in 2011 is now 57-2. He was on a 16 match win streak since the Roland Garros and Roger Federer at the Semi Final) the big questions are – Will he be fit and ready for the US Open, aiming at a third grand slam title this year? Is Andy Murray finally ready to win a Major?

Well, first lets talk of who’s not. Despite my never dying faith in him, Roger Federer won’t be the man. Rafael Nadal is off his game, but Federer is falling apart. Physically it seems. I really enjoyed his match against James Blake, but that was about it from the former world number one this time. Nadal? The Roland Garros seems so long gone, and the confidence and awe he inspired in fans and foes doesn’t exist right now. Novak Djokovic took away that intimidation factor at Wimbledon.

That leaves us with Andy Murray. He took Cincinnati without dropping a set. He was fresher than anyone else mind you, losing his first match in Montreal to Kevin Anderson. Still, winning the final tournament before the US Open has to be a good sign. Fitness-wise he looked great and didn’t have his usual self-cursing tantrums that always predict the self destruction act, like in Wimbledon against Nadal not too long ago.

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If Djokovic can rest and heal in 8 days, it’s his tournament to take. When fit, he’s way above the rest this year. He tweeted and talked about playing through fatigue in Cincinnati, never letting it catch up with him till the final. Eventually, he couldn’t reach the 100 mile mark on his serves and had only his forehand, weakened, to help him against a free and flowing looking Andy Murray.

An Andy Murray win doesn’t exactly shuffle the deck before the US Open, it’s more a Novak Djokovic injury thing that makes the whole predicting the 2011 winner a much harder and difficult matter. Call me crazy, but right now, if I’d have to gamble, I’d make my pick between Andy Murray and Mardy Fish. Novak Djokovic? I need to see him fit and well on the first day of the US Open to change my mind.