By Michael Stafford-Jones
- Novak Djokovic  beat Gael Monfils 6-3 6-2 3-6 6-2 to reach the US Open final
- He will face Stan Wawrinka , who overcame Kei Nishikori  4-6 7-5 6-4 6-2
- These are five reasons why Djokovic will win the title
NEW YORK, USA – Novak Djokovic is hoping to put a difficult few months behind him by beating Stan Wawrinka in the 2016 US Open final. Here are five reasons why he will win.
Despite his struggles in recent months, Djokovic is still the most consistent player on the ATP tour, and for the 18 months leading up to Wimbledon 2016 were rarely anything other than excellent.
His stats for 2015 are particularly impressive, as Djokovic won 82 of his 88 matches and won the Australian Open, Wimbledon and the US Open in the process. And, although 2016 has not been as good for the Serb, he has still won 56 of his 61 matches so far.
These stats highlight how unusual it is for Djokovic to lose, and give some idea of the size of the task facing Stan Wawrinka in the final.
Big Match Experience
Wawrinka has played in two Grand Slam finals and six semi-finals, but Djokovic has played in 20 finals and that makes a big difference. There could be situations in the match that the Swiss will not have experienced before and the Serb will be much better prepared to deal with them.
For example if the match goes to a fifth set and the American crowd are roaring their support for whichever player they like most, Djokovic will know how to handle the pressure because he has been there before. In last year’s final, the world number one won the US Open title in arguably some of the most difficult circumstances of all, as the crowd was actively supporting his opponent, Roger Federer, and occasionally even trying to distract Djokovic.
A lot of top tennis players have one or two exceptional shots which serve them superbly in most of their matches and have got them to where they are. However, they often struggle against opponents who manage to nullify their strengths.
Djokovic does not have that problem because he has such a good all-round game. He may not be the best in the world at most of the shots, but he can play virtually all of them to a very good standard and the importance of this cannot be underestimated. It has said many times that he has hardly any weaknesses and that may actually be his greatest strength.
He has a Point to Prove
When Djokovic lost in the Wimbledon third round to big-serving American Sam Querrey, numerous observers started to wonder whether he was losing his touch. He explained afterwards that he was going through some personal issues at the time and his mind was not entirely on the match.
Djokovic bounced back soon afterwards to win the Rogers Cup in Toronto, but then he lost in the first round of the Olympics. It must be said that his opponent, Juan Martin Del Potro, played brilliantly in the match, but more questions were asked of Djokovic afterwards. The Serb then admitted in the press conference that he was struggling with a wrist problem.
The net effect of Djokovic’s two high-profile losses early on in two of the biggest tournaments of all was that some observers started to doubt whether he was still as good as he had been earlier in the year. To make matters worse, three of the world number one’s opponents during US Open 2016 have retired, which has led to some accusations that his run to the final has been easy. Djokovic will desperately want to dispel everyone’s doubts and put to bed any notion of a slump by beating Wawrinka and claiming the year’s fourth Grand Slam title.
Djokovic is arguably the greatest winner ever to play tennis. He does not make the game look easy like Federer or completely dominate on clay courts like Rafael Nadal did for so many years, but when it comes to grinding out difficult victories or coming back from two sets to love down, there is no-one better, and maybe there never has been.
So if Wawrinka builds up a big lead in the match, he needs to make sure he keeps his foot firmly on the accelerator pedal and does not let Djokovic regain any momentum. If the Swiss does let the Serb back into the contest, he might soon see his lead disappear. Shortly after that, he might have to prepare his runner-up speech.
Djokovic and Wawrinka are scheduled on Arthur Ashe Stadium on 11 Sept, 4pm (9pm BST).
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