Djokovic over­pow­ers Mur­ray for ti­tle

The China Post - - SPORTS -

World num­ber one No­vak Djokovic roared home in a 7-6 (7/3), 4-6, 6-0 win over the UK’s Andy Mur­ray on Sun­day to claim a fifth Miami Masters ti­tle. Ser­bia’s Djokovic pushed his ca­reer record against the Scot to 18-8, adding the tri­umph in the cham­pi­onship match on the hard­courts of Miami to vic­to­ries over Mur­ray this year in the Aus­tralian Open fi­nal and the semi­fi­nals of the In­dian Wells Masters.

Djokovic be­came the first man to com­plete the In­dian Well­sMi­ami Masters ti­tle sweep three times, hav­ing also done so in 2011 and 2014.

On Mon­day, Djokovic will tie Spain’s Rafael Nadal for the sixth-most weeks spent at the top of the rank­ings, sit­ting atop the sum­mit for the 141st week in his ca­reer.

Mur­ray, mean­while, is poised to re­turn to num­ber three in the world.

The Scot, whose last victory over Djokovic was in his his­toric Wim­ble­don fi­nal tri­umph of 2013, started strong in a bid to end a six-match skid against the Serb.

Bru­tal Con­di­tions

The two traded four breaks of serve in the first eight games of the tense first set in which both strug­gled on serve on one sun-splashed end of the court.

“It was just very tough, bru­tal con­di­tions for both of us,” Djokovic said.

Djokovic was quick to seize the ini­tia­tive in the tiebreaker, rac­ing to a 4-0 lead, and de­spite a dou­ble fault Djokovic had quickly wrapped up the de­cider 7/3.

The sec­ond set went with serve un­til Djokovic, look­ing weary, was bro­ken in the fi­nal game, gift­ing Mur­ray a dou­ble fault for 0-30 be­fore the Brit belted two win­ners to force a third set.

A frus­trated Djokovic barked at those in his box on the change over, star­tling a nearby ball kid and earn­ing a warn­ing from the chair um­pire.

But the Serb re­grouped, storm­ing through the third set for the win.

“Of course I go through mo­ments of doubt, as every­body else,” the world num­ber one said.

“But it’s im­por­tant to keep those mo­ments short ... That’s what hap­pened to­day. I just gath­ered my thoughts and all the en­ergy into right di­rec­tion, and that helped.”

Mur­ray had a glim­mer of hope of avoid­ing the un­de­sired “bagel” with a break chance against Djokovic in the sixth game.

He couldn’t con­vert and Djokovic gave him­self a match point with a cun­ning drop shot-lob com­bi­na­tion.

The Serb fin­ished Mur­ray off on his first op­por­tu­nity, pulling him out wide with a serve then stroking a win­ner into the open court on match point.

“I just man­aged to play the third set the way I was sup­posed to.”

Djokovic Stronger at the End

Even though Mur­ray makes Miami his train­ing base, he said he strug­gled phys­i­cally late in the two-hour, 46-minute match.

“I played very well for a cou­ple of sets. Maybe I could have done a lit­tle bit bet­ter in the tiebreak in the first set, but, yeah, that was it,” he said of his fast fade in the third.

Mur­ray said he wasn’t sure what he could do dif­fer­ently to avoid the prob­lem. “I’ve trained as hard as I can,” he said. Nev­er­the­less, the per­for­mance gave Mur­ray more to be pleased about than his loss to Djokovic in less than an hour and a half at In­dian Wells a fort­night ear­lier.

“I felt like I was go­ing for my shots a lit­tle bit more. I did pretty much all of the things that I wanted to do tac­ti­cally on the court, so I felt like I played a good match tac­ti­cally.”

AP

(Top) No­vak Djokovic, of Ser­bia, cel­e­brates af­ter de­feat­ing Andy Mur­ray, of the United King­dom, dur­ing the men’s fi­nal match at the Miami Open ten­nis tour­na­ment, in Key Bis­cayne, Florida on Sun­day, April 5. (Above) U.S. Coast Guard he­li­copters fly over the Sta­dium Court be­fore a match be­tween No­vak Djokovic, of Ser­bia, and Andy Mur­ray, of the United King­dom, at the men’s fi­nal match of the Miami Open ten­nis tour­na­ment, in Key Bis­cayne on Sun­day.

AP

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