Sat, Sep 10, 1:28pm by Senior Writer
Stan Wawrinka and Novak Djokovic meet in the 2016 US Open men’s final having played each other on 23 occasions, with the ledger 19-4 in the Serbian world No.1’s favour.
The rivalry between the two, who are less than two years apart in age, extends back into their junior days, and reached its peak at the 2015 French Open final, which Wawrinka ($6.30) won in four sets in one of the biggest upsets in a Grand Slam final in recent history.
That result saw Wawrinka join elite company as only one of three men to have beaten Djokovic in a Grand Slam final, with the other two being Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray. Since that day in May last year, the two have met just twice, both late last year, with Djokovic emerging the winner in Cincinnati and Paris.
Prior to that four-set result at Roland Garros, the two had built a reputation for epic Grand Slam contests. Djokovic won their semi-final match-up in Melbourne in 2015 in five sets, while 12 months earlier, it was Wawrinka who came out the victor in a quarter final which was settled 9-7 in the fifth.
Their 2013 US Open semi-final was also a five-setter, won by Djokovic, while the Serbian also won their 2013 Australian Open match, 12-10 in the fifth.
Whatever, their respective rankings, Grand Slam titles and head to head records say, it is clear that Wawrinka is a player that Djokovic doesn’t enjoy playing over five sets.
If, as has been the case in four of their past five Grand Slam contests, this goes to five sets, then the extremely humid conditions will certainly play their part. Wawrinka struggled in the New York heat in his semi-final win against Kei Nishikori.
In the end, Wawrinka prevailed over four sets due to his greater consistency on serve, while Nishikori wilted somewhat, having held the ascendancy early in the match.
Djokovic had three opponents either forfeit or withdraw in his six matches to date, while he had little trouble with Gael Monfils in the semi-final, who admitted he tried to play psychological games with the world No.1.
Monfils played much of the match at a half-pace, before suddenly springing to life to claim the third set in surprising fashion, but after Djokovic received medical treatment on his troublesome left shoulder, he regathered himself, to easily book a spot in the decider.
Those niggling injuries appear Djokovic’s major concern and Wawrinka will know that if he will need to apply plenty of physical pressure on Djokovic if he is to break to Serbian’s famous resolve.
You just get the feeling that Djokovic’s softer run through the early stages will prove crucial in this. Wawrinka looked tired against Nishikori and he’ll need to step up to compete here. History says he can take a set off him, and he may even push it to five, but a 13th Grand Slam title and third US Open title for Djokovic looks the most likely outcome.
Novak Djokovic $1.34
Stan Wawrinka $3.30
N Djokovic 3-0 $2.63
S Wawrinka 3-0 $9.50
N Djokovic 3-1 $3.60
S Wawrinka 3-1 $7.50
N Djokovic 3-2 $6.50
S Wawrinka 3-2 $8.50
To Win 1st Set
N Djokovic $1.49
S Wawrinka $2.50
Total Match Games
Under (37.5) $1.80
Over (37.5) $1.90
N Djokovic (-4.5) $1.72
S Wawrinka (+4.5) $2.00
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