Sunday, April 01, 2012

KEY BISCAYNE '12: Djokovic Beats Murray To Defend Title

Following World #2 Rafael Nadal's surprise withdrawal from the Sony Ericsson Open on Friday due to a knee injury (the morning after his 6-2 5-7 6-4 win against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga) before his semifinal showdown with World #4 Andy Murray and World #1 Novak Djokovic's clutch dismissal of hunky and deceptively powerful Juan Monaco 6-0 7-6(5), the winner of the final was almost a foregone conclusion. Djokovic defended his 2011 Sony Ericsson Open by defeating Murray 6-1 7-6(4).

Despite being the first person to beat Djokovic in 2012, there are very few people who believe that Murray will be the person to break the stranglehold that Djokovic, Nadal and Roger Federer currently have at the pinnacle of men's tennis. The question is, does Murray believe, and if so, does he have the skill and commitment to do what it takes to break through to the top? There's no question that he's getting closer, so that's a good sign. Now, he has to start taking advantage of the golden opportunities (like Nadal withdrawing from an ATP Masters semifinal!) when they arise.

With his win today, Djokovic improves his career head-to-head to 8 wins and 5 losses against Murray, and claimed his 30th career ATP Tour title and 11th ATP Masters title, tied 4th with Pete Sampras on the all-time list behind Andre Agassi  (17) and Nadal and Federer (19). He becomes the first player since he himself did it in 2007 to win the Miami Masters series title without losing a set. He joins Sampras and Agassi as the only players to win this title 3 times or more (2007, 2011 and 2012). This is also the first time he has successfully defended an ATP Masters series title. He has 3 more Masters Shields won in 2011 to defend in 2012 (Madrid, Rome and Montreal).

It should be interesting to see how many of these he can defend, especially on the clay.

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