ATP MIAMI OPEN 2015: Preview of the Final

Novak Djokovic is just one win away from becoming the first player to complete the Indian Wells-Miami title sweep for the third time as he reached the final with a relatively straight forward 7-6(3), 6-2 win over the American number one John Isner. He faces familiar foe Andy Murray who stopped Tomas Berdych with a routine 6-4, 6-4 win in the afternoon session. The match to be played on Sunday on Day 12 of the second super series event played at Crandon Park in Key Biscayne, Florida for the Miami Open ATP 1000 by Itau will have an early afternoon start as the season shifts to clay from Monday witn ATP 250 events in Casablanca, Morroco and in Houston, U.S.A.

World number one and defending champion Novak Djokovic is also bidding for his fifth Miami Open title and his 22nd overall at ATP 1000 level as he plays in his 32nd ATP World Tour Masters 1000 final having already won here in 2007, 2011, 2012 and 2014. The third seeded Andy Murray who has a home in Miami has been a winner in 2009 and 2013, will be contesting his 13th ATP World Tour Masters 1000 final having already claimed nine titles in his career. Djokovic will be playing his fifth final in Miami while Murray would be appearing in his fourth Miami final, only Andre Agassi who played eight finals and won six of them has appeared in more finals in Miami. Murray who also finished runner-up in 2012 to Djokovic will be aiming for his maiden title in 2015. Djokovic won the Australian Open and in Indian Wells where he beat Murray in the final and semi-final respectively.

Djokovic leads Murray 17-8 in career meetings in a rivalry which dates back to the junior years but despite Djokovic’s recent domination Murray will be looking to cap a milestone week after claiming his 500th career win en route to the final, defeating the South African Kevin Anderson in the fourth round. He has looked solid throughout the week and has little to loose as the pressure will be entirely on the Serb who will hoping to create history. While Djokovic improved his head to head against Isner to 7-2, Murray tallied Berdych at 6 wins apiece in career meetings. Djokovic is 24-2 in 2015 while Murray stands at 21-4 for the year.

Djokovic fired 10 aces against Isner and never faced a break point in the entire match played in the night session, while Isner was broken twice in the second set and barely managed to force a tie-break in the first set as he saved a break point trailing 5-6 but eventually lost the tie-break at 7-3. Murray dropped his serve twice, once in each set while he broke the Czech’s serve four times, twice in each set. Murray is guaranteed to move to no. 3 in the rankings on Monday and has a lot at stake as he was outplayed in straight sets at Indian Wells. Expect a much improved Murray to lift the trophy on Sunday in a tight contest in what has been a lacklustre event despite Isner’s heroics. The American had two back to back wins against top ten players this week beating Kei Nishikori of Japan ranked fifth and Milos Raonic of Canada ranked sixth.

– Rasesh Mehta [Rasesh Mehta is an analyst with the Tennis Galaxy.You can reach him at the email: sportzcosmos@gmail.com]

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