Djokovic, Mur­ray set to clash in Miami fi­nal

The China Post - - SPORTS -

Andy Mur­ray will try to cap a mile­stone week, while No­vak Djokovic is aim­ing for an­other hard­court dou­ble victory when they square off in the Miami Open fi­nal on Sun­day.

Mur­ray will be gun­ning for his third Miami Masters ti­tle af­ter beat­ing Czech To­mas Berdych 6-4, 6-4 on Fri­day to se­cure his fi­nal berth. It marks the fourth trip to the cham­pi­onship match for Mur­ray who ear­lier this week joined the elite club of play­ers to win 500 ca­reer matches.

Djokovic, who de­feated Mur­ray in the Aus­tralian Open fi­nal ear­lier this year for his eighth Grand Slam crown, beat hard-serv­ing John Is­ner 7-6 (7/3), 6-2 in the other semi­fi­nal.

Djokovic, 27, is try­ing to be­come the first player to sweep the In­dian Wells and Miami Masters hard­court ti­tles on three sep­a­rate oc­ca­sions. He achieved the U.S. hardourt dou­ble in 2011 and again last year.

"We have very sim­i­lar games," Djokovic said of Mur­ray. "We al­ready played twice this year, and in a big match in Aus­tralian Open fi­nal which was very, very phys­i­cal and very close.

"I ex­pect a battle, long ral­lies, and I know what is ex­pected of me on the court. I know his game pretty well, as well as he knows mine."

Djokovic won the first set against Is­ner in a tiebreaker then got the early break in the sec­ond set to go up 2-1.

Djokovic served bril­liantly, blast- ing 10 aces and win­ning 80 per­cent of his first-serve points in the 90-minute match.

His two ser­vice breaks against Is­ner were the key as the tow­er­ing Amer­i­can had not been bro­ken com­ing into the semi­fi­nal con­test.

"He is the best server we have in the game," Djokovic said of Is­ner. "He is 6'10" so he can hit any an­gle he wants. I didn't know what my pref­er­ence was — to have him hit his first serve in, or his sec­ond serve in. They are both equally good.

"I man­aged to get a lot of serves back. That was one of the keys of the match. To get into the rally and make him work ex­tra hard."

With the win over Berdych, Mur­ray evened his record against the eighth-seeded Czech at 6-6 and backed up his victory in the semi­fi­nals of the Aus­tralian Open.

"I thought it was a high qual­ity match," said the 27-year-old, who is set to re­turn to num­ber three in the world next week.

"We played some good points. I thought it was a pretty clean match. I felt like I just played a bit bet­ter than him. That was the dif­fer­ence."

The two sets un­folded in iden­ti­cal fash­ion, Scot­land's Mur­ray open­ing with a break of Berdych's serve, drop­ping his own serve then break­ing again.

That sec­ond break in each set proved enough for Mur­ray, who is now poised to battle for his first Masters level ti­tle since he lifted the tro­phy here at Cran­don Park in 2013.

Down 0-30 in the ninth game of the sec­ond set, Berdych ral­lied to hold serve and force Mur­ray to serve for the match.

AP

Andy Mur­ray, of Great Bri­tain, cel­e­brates af­ter de­feat­ing To­mas Berdych, of Czech Repub­lic, 6-4, 6-4, at the Miami Open ten­nis tour­na­ment in Key Bis­cayne, Florida, Fri­day, April 3.

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