Murray defeats Djokovic for Key Biscayne title
KEY BISCAYNE, Florida (AP) - Andy Murray took advantage of Novak Djokovic’s slow start to win the Sony Ericsson Open title 6-2, 7-5 Sunday.
The Scotsman used his vast repertoire of shots and took advantage of two wobbly stretches by Djokovic. The Serb looked nervous at the start and fell behind 4-0, and in the second set Murray rallied from a break down at 1-4 and won 10 of the final 11 points.
Murray became the first three-time titlist on the men’s tour this year. He’s off to a career-best 26-2 start, and since July his record is 57-7, best on the tour.
The No. 4-seeded Murray committed only 19 unforced errors, patiently mixing the pace and direction of his shots to keep the No. 3-seeded Djokovic off balance.
"It’s my way of dictating how the match is getting played," Murray said. "A lot of people might not necessarily think my game looks the most aggressive or offensive, but very few times will I not have the points played how I like them to be played."
Twice Murray hit second serves for aces, and he threw in several effective change-up first serves.
When rallying from the baseline didn’t work for Djokovic, he tried charging the net, and Murray repeatedly beat him with crosscourt passing shots.
"You have to say, ‘Well done,"’ Djokovic said.
It was a matchup between Nos. 3 and 4, instead of the anticipated showdown between Nos. 1 and 2. Top-ranked Rafael Nadal lost in the quarterfinals to Juan Martin del Potro, and Djokovic upset Roger Federer in the semifinals.
Lately Murray has won more than anyone. He’s the first three-time titlist this year on the men’s tour thanks to a career-best 26-2 start, and since July his record is 57-7, best on the tour.
Back home, he’s touted as a threat to become the first British man since 1936 to win Wimbledon.
The benefits of Murray’s conditioning regimen showed as he repeatedly scrambled into the corners to retrieve shots.
"Physically he’s moving much better all over the court," Djokovic said. "The balls he wasn’t getting before, he is now."
Despite the sweltering sunshine, Murray’s legs looked fresh throughout the match, while Djokovic appeared to wilt quickly and consulted with a trainer early in the second set. The Serb has a history of not finishing matches, most recently at this year’s Australian Open quarterfinals against Andy Roddick.
"Yet again I was, I think, the biggest enemy to myself," Djokovic said. "I was struggling again adjusting to the heat. That’s just the way it is. I can’t fight it. It has been for a while like this."
Djokovic’s conversation with the trainer preceded his best burst of tennis. His serve improved, he began finding the range with his groundstrokes and he broke Murray twice to win four games in a row.
Murray needed 16 points in the next game to hold for 2-4, which swung the momentum back his way. He hit three aces to hold for 5-all, broke in the next game at love and swept the final four points to close out the match.
The statistics reflected Murray’s well-rounded game: He won 26 of 34 points on his first serve, broke Djokovic five times and won 10 of 11 points at the net.
Top-ranked Serena Williams, who was bothered by an injured left thigh, was upset 6-3, 6-1 in the women’s final Saturday by 19-year-old Victoria Azarenka of Belarus.