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Djokovic reigns supreme in Miami, creates history

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WORLD number one, Novak Djokovic, claimed a piece of tennis history on Sunday at the Miami Open. He claimed a seventh consecutive win over world number four, Andy Murray and captured a fifth crown to become the first player ever to complete the Indian Wells-Miami title sweep three times and two years in a row.

This is the third time the Serb would defeat Murray this year alone and the second time at a final, just this year. He now boasts an 18-8 FedEx ATP Head2Head record over the Scot.

The last time Murray beat the Serb was at Wimbledon in 2013. Since then, he has lost every single match played, to Djokovic. Though Djokovic crushed Murray in the final set, winning 7-6 4-6 6-0, the match was anything but straightforward with both players trading breaks in the first set before each player held nerves and serve, taking the set to a deciding tiebreak. Djokovic comfortably won the tiebreak as Murray’s unforced errors mounted.

At the start of the second set, Murray’s serve came under intense pressure from the relentless attack of the Serb, but he held firm. Djokovic would waver at 4-5, serving to stay in the set and Murray pounced, breaking him to love and forcing the match to a decider. The match was going to be won by the fitter of the two as conditions became harsher.

After dropping the second set by being broken at the end, Djokovic lost control of his emotions and was issued a code violation by the umpire.

This action might have helped him as he brought his emotions under control and outlasted Murray, crushing him into surrender. Both players were obviously feeling the pressure but in the mark of a true champion, Djokovic gathered himself and seized control of the decider while Murray stepped out of the zone.

This was reminiscent of the Australian Open’s final set where Djokovic also won the deciding set 6-0 against Murray after dropping the second set to him. The match, which both players described as a physical battle, saw Djokovic convert just five of 18 break points and winning just seven more total points than his opponent.

The men’s final matched two of the game’s best retrievers, and they waged a succession of long, entertaining rallies in the early going. Djokovic’s legs splayed as he skidded on the hardcourt, digging out shots in the corners, and Murray hustled just as hard, closing one 35-stroke marathon with a backhand winner.

The new rankings released yesterday, have Rafael Nadal and Djokovic tied at 141 weeks, which is sixth place, for most weeks spent at the top of the ATP Rankings. With 4000 points separating him from his closest rival, he has comfortably set himself up to finish at World number one for the fourth time in five years.

Djokovic now has 22 ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title, one short of Roger Federer and five short of Rafael Nadal. If he keeps his form and focus, he might tie Nadal or get closer at least, before the end of this year. Djokovic has now won the three biggest titles this year. There is still the Madrid, Monte Carlo and Rome Masters to go before the main slam in Paris in June.

How this wins would help him going into the clay swing remains to be seen as Djokovic is still pursuing the French Open- the only slam to elude him till date. He made the finals last year but came short, losing to Nadal in a tight match.

Tennis fans and faithful are hoping that Djokovic lifts the French Open cup this year, but with Nadal still very much in action, doubts still linger as he has denied Djokovic several times over the years. Djokovic has been practically invincible this year with a 25-2 record this year and it is hoped he carries this form into the clay swing.

A title in Paris would be the crowning glory for his efforts so far.


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