Friday, April 12, 2024

Djokovic beats heat to win Miami Open

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KEY BISCAYNE, Fla. (AP) – Hot but happy, Novak Djokovic had just begun celebrating his latest championship when he tossed his towel and sweatbands into the crowd. They were soggy souvenirs for sure.

Djokovic earned his fifth Key Biscayne tennis title Sunday, beating Andy Murray for the seventh consecutive time by showing superior stamina in the subtropical heat to win the Miami Open final 7-6 (3), 4-6, 6-0.

Murray broke in the final game of the second set to even the match, but fatigue then became a factor on a sunny, humid, 80-degree afternoon.

Djokovic was the fitter player down the stretch.

“It was brutal – it’s very warm,” he said. “I was prepared for a physical battle. But it’s one thing to prepare and another thing to experience it on the court. I was expecting very long rallies and just managed to play the third set the way I was supposed to, and I’m thrilled with this win.”

The top-ranked Djokovic became the first man to complete the Indian Wells-Key Biscayne spring sweep three times, and he has done it twice in a row. He beat Murray in the Indian Wells semi-finals and in the Australian Open final for his eighth Grand Slam title two months ago.

Murray fell to 8-18 against Djokovic.

“I’m not quite there with Novak yet, but I feel like I’m getting a little closer,” Murray said with a chuckle. “I’m sorry I couldn’t make more of a fight of it in the third set. I was trying. My legs were tired and I couldn’t quite finish hard enough.”

Murray will climb from fourth to third in the new rankings, but he has lost 12 consecutive matches to his biggest rivals – Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer – since winning Wimbledon in 2013 by beating Djokovic in the final.

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