Djokovic completes Miami/Indian Wells Double yet again, beats Murray in 2015 Miami Open Final
Esam Taha for Tennis Atlantic
Novak Djokovic won his fifth Miami title, and completed his third career IW/Miami spring masters sweep with a 3 set win over Andy Murray on Sunday. Djokovic continues to be the world’s best player, and he has swept all of the elite level events thus far this season, the Australian Open, Indian Wells, and Miami, as it seems that he is just about untouchable on hard courts at the moment.
Novak Djokovic d. Andy Murray 7-6(3) 4-6 6-0
After a couple of weeks of non-stop tennis action down in Miami, everyone was ready for the much-anticipated final between heavyweights Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray. The pair have already clashed twice this year, as recent as in Indian Wells in a one-sided affair in favor of the world #1. Murray was looking to put in a better fight against an opponent he has not been able to figure out in recent times, losing 9 of their last 10 meetings. Meanwhile Novak was aiming to become the first player ever to win the Indian Wells – Miami combo 3 different times. Coming off a good performance vs Isner in the semifinal the Serb felt like he was peaking at the right time.
Murray came to play. The crowd barely settled in their seats as the world #4 went to work early, coming out with aggression on Novak’s serve forcing him to deuce right off the bat. It would end up being a tough hold for Novak but Andy had sent a clear message, he had come to play. Murray would hold at ease and once again the Serb would find himself in trouble on his service game. Murray was taking the initiative, stepping in whenever he saw an opportunity. It would pay off as Murray would be the first to draw blood as he broke to go up 2-1 early in the first. Djokovic despite looking a tad sloppy to start would not lose focus, but rather elevate his game to break right back the very following game. Novak realized this wasn’t going to be a repeat of Indian Wells, he needed to bring his A game. At 2-3 Murray would win a couple of incredible points to engaging the crowd early on, there was a lot of positive language from the Andy. He was locked in, somehow, ripping a backhand winner off a tough return from Novak to hold and square things up at 3-3. Just when it seemed both players were kicking it into top gear Novak would make 4 UEs on the trot to gift Murray his 2nd break of the set.
Murray would politely exchange gifts with Novak as he committed a few unforced of his own to give away his service game and tie things up at 4-4. It seemed like there was one side of the court affecting both players, the sun appeared to be right in their line of sight. It would be more apparent as Novak easily held while serving from the other side to go up 5-4. Murray would show little nerves to return the favor and take the set to 5-5. Despite a brilliant cross-court return winner from Andy to start the game Novak would keep his calm and hold to put the pressure back on Murray at 5-6. Murray serving with the sun in his eye would feel the pressure falling in a 0-30 hole. A splendid drop shot, a beautiful cross court backhand winner to win a long rally and Murray gets it right back to 30-30 as the crowd roared him on. As he looked set to force the tiebreak a brutal net cord would send it to deuce. Murray would survive the mini-battle as Novak left the drop shot short to force the tiebreak. Murray would not have his best tiebreak, committing a couple of bad errors to gift Novak a couple of minibreaks. Novak would get one of them back thanks to a Novak DF but he’d end the tiebreak with 3 balls straight into the net to lose the tiebreak and 1st set 6-7 (3). It was a tough way to lose the set considering Andy had slightly outplayed Novak for most of it.Embed from Getty Images
Murray needed to reset and put that 1st behind him, and that would be exactly what he would do to start off the 2nd as he held with ease. At 1-1 Andy would find himself in a 0-30 hole as he tried the drop shot lob combo with Novak underestimating the Serb’s speed. A sloppy overhead from Murray, which would prove to be the first of many for both players, would set up a couple of breakpoints for Novak. The Scot would battle back and save the breakpoint with an ace as he let out a big fist pump. Novak stared at his racket as he knew he let Murray off the hook with an unforced error on a return off a weak Murray 2nd serve, that was the 4th BP Murray saved that game. “COME ON!” Murray shouted and motioned to the crowd as he fired two big serves to hold and escape a dangerous game. The pendulum would quickly swing the other way as a DF from Novak set up a break point for Murray. However Andy would bail out the defending champion with a couple of UE to level things up at 2-2. The finalists would trade holds, Novak sealing his with a difficult DTL backhand winner, to which the “Nole, Nole” chants broke out in the crowd. A somewhat sloppy set would continue with more and more UEs from both players, including an awful display of overhead misses. Still there were no breaks as Novak came out to serve to stay in the set at 4-5 in the 2nd. The sloppiness would continue from the Serb quickly falling behind 0-30 with the pressure mounting. Andy 2 point away from claiming the 2nd, hit a winner off a Novak overhead, a shot he has been particularly struggling with all afternoon, to set up 3 set points. Murray would claim the 2nd in emphatic fashion as he punished a weak Novak 2nd serve with a cross court backhand winner. The frustration would visibly get to Novak as he snatched a towel from a flinching ball boy while yelling at his box, invoking a code violation warning. It wasn’t a good look for the Serb but he would later apologize for the incident on his facebook page.Embed from Getty Images
The crowd was excited, the 2015 Miami Open final was going the distance. Despite Murray having the mental edge given how things ended the previous set, he didn’t start off the 3rd like he had it. Murray would have not 1, not 2, but 3 chances to put away an overhead but Novak would deny him to set up break points. Andy would save one but then stick the backhand right into the net to go down a break right off the bat in the decider. He would look to make amends quickly pushing the Serb to deuce with aggressive play. Novak would have to pull off an incredible play to consolidate as he flicked a ball that was practically behind him to take the point. It seemed like Andy put all he had into that game, what would follow would not be pretty. The Scot showed plenty of negative body language and moving gingerly between points, summing it up with a double fault to face triple break point. Out of nowhere the Scot would bring himself back into it saving all 3 breakpoints including a perfectly placed DTL backhand winner, bringing the crowd out of their seats. Another Murray missed overhead, the theme of the match, would setup a 6th break chance for Novak in that game. Novak would not let 6 opportunities pass him by, converting the 6th to put one hand on the trophy as he went up 2 breaks, 3-0 in the decider.
There wasn’t much fight left in Murray following that, he was broken again to give the Serb a chance to serve out the bagel. The world #1 would make no mistake as he closed out the 3rd set to claim his 5th Miami Open title 7-6(3) 4-6 6-0. It was an anticlimactic finish to a final which was dramatic yet subpar in terms of quality. Djokovic became the first player ever to win the Indian Wells – Miami duo 3 separate times.
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Sania Mirza and Martina Hingis won the WTA doubles final over Makarova/Vesnina, just like Djokovic, they completed their own Indian Wells/Miami double as they swept the spring masters events.Embed from Getty Images
It was a pleasure to provide complete coverage of the 2015 Miami Open here at Tennis Atlantic, we greatly enjoyed having our guest writer Esam Taha on site in Miami covering all the action, and want to congratulate him on the awesome job he did, we look forward to bringing you credentialed on-site coverage from Miami next year-The Editors