World No. 1 Novak Djokovic repeated as champion at the Sony Ericsson Open Sunday, defeating 2009 titlist Andy Murray 6-1, 7-6(4) to triumph for the third time at Crandon Park.
“Any title is big, and it means a lot,” said Djokovic. “I’ve won three times here. I think that says enough about how I feel playing in Miami. I love the crowd… I have been really playing well in the last couple of years here, so this is going to be very encouraging for me prior to the clay-court season.”
Djokovic converted two of his eight break point opportunities and won 70 per cent of his service points. He closed out the second set tie-break on his first match point to seal the win in two hours and 18 minutes, becoming just the third male to lift three trophies in Miami (Andre Agassi, Pete Sampras).
“When he feels the chance, he always grabs it,” Djokovic said. “Luckily for me, I came out with some good serving when I needed to. I think I served over 70 per cent of first serves in, which was really important today to get a couple of free points on that serve and set up a good second shot. I [did] that when I needed to.”
The Serbian captured his 11th ATP World Tour Masters 1000 crown, moving into a tie with Sampras for fourth place on the all-time list. He successfully defended a Masters 1000 title for the first time to win his 30th tour-level title and second this season, following his victory at the Australian Open (d. Nadal).
“I feel that being No. 1 and having the best year of my career in 2011, I’m playing at the peak of my form and I’m playing the best tennis that I have played,” said Djokovic. “So I have to use that as much as I can, coming into every tournament that I play. The competition is getting stronger, I believe. Everybody is so professional nowadays. So that makes it even tougher for anybody to win a title. But I’m ready for it.”
The 24-year-old Djokovic is the first player to win the tournament without losing a set since accomplishing the same feat in 2007, when he beat Guillermo Canas to pick up his first Masters 1000 trophy. He is also the first top-ranked player to finish in the winner’s circle since Roger Federer won back-to-back trophies in 2005-2006.
Murray was bidding for his second title of the season and dropped to 5-8 against Djokovic.
“I didn’t return well today, which is normally one of the best parts of my game. That was the difference, in my opinion,” said Murray. “[I was] not getting into enough of his service games because I missed too many returns. If I was able to get into more longer rallies on his service games, then maybe it would have been a different result in the second set.”
The tournament broke its all-time attendance record, with 326, 131 fans turning out for the two week event.