It took Novak Djokovic all of five sets, and nearly five hours to defeat Andy Murray in Friday's semifinal at the 2012 Australian Open. Both players looked physically exhausted at points during the match, despite being among the tennis world's elite in skill and fitness. With the final set tied 5-5, Murray had two break point opportunities over Djokovic but couldn't quite seal the deal. Djokovic broke Murray in the following game for the set (7-5) and the match.
"Andy deserves the credit to come back from 2-5 down. He was fighting. I was fighting," Djokovic said following the match. "Not many words that can describe the feeling of the match.
"Evidently it was a physical match ... it was one of the best matches I played. Emotionally and mentally it was equally hard."
Now he has the unenviable task of taking on Rafael Nadal in Sunday's final, in a matchup of the No. 1 and No. 2-ranked players in the world. Nadal defeated Roger Federer 6-7, 6-2, 7-6, 6-4 to advance on Thursday. Nadal holds a 16-13 advantage over Djokovic in his career. Djokovic won the last meeting between the two heavyweights, however, beating Nadal during the 2011 U.S. Open Finals.
"To be honest, I think I matured as a player. I started to believe on the court I could win majors," he said. "Rafa and Roger are the most dominant players for the last seven, eight years. ... It was very hard to take away the titles from them. They will not give you the titles. You have to earn it."
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