Mur­ray, Djokovic to met in fi­nal

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - SPORTS - The As­so­ci­ated Press

Andy Mur­ray and No­vak Djokovic set up a Sun­day shootout for both the ATP fi­nals ti­tle and the year-end No. 1 rank­ing.

The world’s top two play­ers had con­trast­ing wins in the semi­fi­nals at O2 Arena on Satur­day, with Mur­ray sur­viv­ing a match point to beat Mi­los Raonic 5-7, 7-6 (5), 7-6 (9) in 3 hours, 38 min­utes, the long­est ever three-set­ter in the ATP fi­nals.

Djokovic needed just 66 min­utes to dis­patch Kei Nishikori 6-1, 6-1.

Mur­ray ar­rived at the tour­na­ment sim­ply need­ing to do bet­ter than Djokovic to fin­ish the year at No. 1, a po­si­tion he has held since win­ning the Paris Masters two weeks ago.

Now, that means win­ning the fi­nal.

“This has never hap­pened in the his­tory of ten­nis,” Djokovic said of the win­ner-takes-all match on Sun­day. “I’m priv­i­leged to be part of the his­tory. This is one of the big­gest matches we will ever play against each other.”

Djokovic might just be in bet­ter shape af­ter over­whelm­ing Nishikori, who held his serve only once all match.

“I pretty much ex­e­cuted ev­ery­thing I tac­ti­cally planned to do,” Djokovic said.

“My level had been go­ing in the right di­rec­tion. I’m very glad I get to ex­pe­ri­ence this feel­ing on the court. Now it’s com­ing up to the last match of the year, the match ev­ery­body an­tic­i­pated.”

Af­ter squan­der­ing chances while serv­ing for the match twice in the fi­nal set, Mur­ray con­verted on his fourth match point dur­ing the tiebreaker to fi­nally come through.

“It was un­be­liev­ably tough,” Mur­ray said. “I had to fight very, very hard. Be­ing bro­ken twice serv­ing for the match was frus­trat­ing. It was one of the harder matches I’ve played in­doors. They are never this long.”

Mur­ray had won all six of his meet­ings with Raonic this year, in­clud­ing a straight-sets vic­tory in the Wim­ble­don fi­nal.

Mur­ray just needs one last push at the end of a stun­ning sec­ond half to 2016, when he has won Wim­ble­don and the Olympics be­fore top­ping the rank­ings for the first time.

“I’m tired,” Mur­ray said. “I’ve played so much ten­nis the last few months. I’ll just give my best ef­fort to­mor­row. It’s go­ing to be tough, ob­vi­ously, but I’ll give my best shot.”

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