Miami – final
(1)Novak Djokovic d. (4)Andy Murray
6-1, 7-6(4) [2:17 h]
Miami is the only ‘1000’ tournament which separates semifinals from the final by one day off. This year’s withdrawal of Nadal caused a unique situation that one of the finalists (Murray) has not played a match in three days! The Brit won his quarterfinal match on Wednesday, on Thursday there were quarterfinals in the top half of the draw, on Friday he received walkover, Saturday was free for both final participants. As usual it was a very hot Miami day, both players appeared in white outfits and caps. Djokovic experienced almost a copy of his two previous matches against Ferrer and Monaco when he was forced to work hard in the 2nd set after taking the opener easily… The first critical moment of the final came after the second change of ends. The serving Murray led 40/0 as Djokovic played two fast backhands to hang in that game. Murray squandered six game points in total, a break point in the following game, and Djokovic established a 4:1 lead, then managed to get another break in the 6th game against a slightly discouraged opponent. In the 2nd set Murray accelerated his ground-strokes, Djokovic responded with stronger serves, and they held twelve service games. Both had their chances for a break though, for example Murray led 4:3 (30/0) – great serve display of Djokovic then, later on Murray was three times two points away from winning the set at 6:5 – Djokovic avoided facing a set point with two solid baseline rallies and a service winner. In the tie-break Murray was 2:0 down, but leveled up after a fantastic rally (finished the point with a stretch drop-shot from the tram-lines), it cost him a lot of energy and committed a double fault afterwards. Djokovic got the next two points with a forehand winner (99 mph) and an ace. At 2:5, Murray held both serves quickly, and the Serb responded with another serve-forehand combination. On the first match point the Brit sent a forehand long and Djokovic quite calmly celebrated his 30th title. It’s been their fourth ‘1000’ final, Murray won all previous ones, also in Miami as he beat Djokovic 6-2 7-5 three years ago. Their rivalry develops, last year they played three matches, as many as already this year (2-1 for Djokovic in both seasons).
“I had a great tournament,” Djokovic amitted. “I managed to play my best tennis when I needed to.” Last year after clinching the title at Sony Ericsson Open, he had a sensational 24-0 record of the season, now it’s just a bit worse (20-2), so it’s a solid base to suspect he’s going to finish second straight year as the best player in the world. Murray has his big ambitions, has the legendary Ivan Lendl in his box, but with his last defeats to Federer and Djokovic in ATP finals, and upcoming season on his least favorite surface (clay) it’s really tough to expect he may finally break through to the hermetically closed configuration of the Top 3. Stats of the final.
(7)L.Paes/R.Stepanek d. (2)M.Mirnyi/D.Nestor 3-6, 6-1, [10-8]
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