Britain’s Andy Murray, world number four, got one step closer to substituting Serbian Novak Djokovic at number three. Murray demolished Djokovic in the finals of the Sony Ericsson Open 6-2, 7-5 for his third title this season.
It was all Andy the first set. The Brit took advantage of a myriad of backhand and forehand errors by Djokovic to go up a double break at 4-0. With Djokovic serving at 1-5, a missed forehand volley gave Murray his first set point. But, the Serbian forced a return error for deuce; eventually with a dropshot, Djokovic held serve. However, the next game, with an overhead winner, Murray rested the set.
Djokovic’s disastrous run persisted into the second set. With a double fault and two backhand errors, the Serb went down double break point. After Murray bailed him out with a failed dropshot for deuce, Djokovic’s ineffective approach shots allowed Murray several more chances to break. Andy did so with a backhand pass for 1-0. A dazed Djokovic called for the trainer. Seemingly, the hot weather and Murray’s play were taking their toll on him. After the temporary respite gave the Serb an opportunity to catch his bearings, Djokovic obtained his first break point with a crosscourt forehand winner. Novak converted with Andy’s forehand volley error. After holding serve for 2-1, the Serb pressured the Brit’s forehand side for double break point and capitalized for a 3-1 lead. The next game, with a forehand crosscourt pass, Murray arrived at break point. Yet, with a couple of backhand errors by Murray and a backhand volley winner, Djokovic stretched his mark to 4-1. After fighting off two break points in a five-deuce game, Murray held for 4-2. Serving at 5-3, with an ace down the T, Djokovic had set point. However, with a strong return, Murray caused a backhand error for deuce. Novak secured another set point, when Andy’s lob sailed long. But again, Djokovic squandered that with a double fault. Subsequently, with consecutive forehand and backhand up the line errors by Djokovic, the players were back on serve. At 5 all, Murray connected on a backhand crosscourt pass. Then, Djokovic donated two points with volley errors giving Murray triple break point. The Brit cashed in when the Serb’s forehand volley missed its destination. A duplicate result by Djokovic on match point handed the Brit his first Sony championship.
The men gave plenty to chat about this week. Roger Federer blew a set and a break advantage in the semifinals against Djokovic. Unable to hide his frustration as his forehand could not find the court, Federer exploded and smashed a racket. Argentine Juan Martin Del Potro took out Rafael Nadal, the top seed and winner at Indian Wells, in the quarterfinals. After beating the world number one for the first time, Del Potro was shown the door by Murray in the semis.