SONY ERICSSON OPEN 2012
Djokovic Reaches Fourth Sony Ericsson Open Final
by Matt Fitzgerald|
World No. 1 Novak Djokovic is one win away from successfully defending his Sony Ericsson Open crown, after defeating 21st seed Juan Monaco 6-0, 7-6(5) in the semi-finals on Friday. In the final, Djokovic will square off against fourth-ranked Andy Murray for the third time at Crandon Park.
"As I did yesterday in the quarter-finals, I started very strong, just going for the shots, being very aggressive," said Djokovic. "Then I just wasn't able to close it out. It was a very similar match to the one against Ferrer... It was [an] exciting match I think for us to play and for the crowd. I didn't expect an easy match and [I'm] just happy to be through."
The top seed ran away with the first set, winning 24 of 32 points against the Argentine. But for the second day in a row, serving for the match at 5-4, Djokovic was unable to shut the door, as Monaco converted his first break to even the set at 5-all. The Serbian regrouped in the tie-break, clinching the victory on his second match point to improve his record over the Argentine to a 5-0 mark.
"The first set was incredible. He played like the real No. 1. It was tough for me," said Monaco. "Then in the second set, I got in on the match, I guess. Started to serve a little bit better [and] believed a little bit in my game. It was a big fight in the second set, but he really deserved to win.
"I feel like this tournament is going to bring me a lot of confidence for the next tournaments, so I hope to still play this way and [will] try to reach another semi-final or even [the] final."
Djokovic is bidding to win his second title this season, having lifted his fifth Grand Slam trophy at the Australian Open (d. Nadal). Should he defeat Murray in Sunday’s title match, Djokovic will repeat as champion at an ATP World Tour Masters 1000 event for the first time.
Murray won their most recent meeting in the semi-finals of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships three weeks ago. Djokovic and Murray have split their two previous Miami clashes, with Djokovic cruising through their first encounter in the 2007 semi-finals and Murray avenging the loss with a straight-set win in the 2009 final.
"He likes the conditions. He likes to play in the heat, as well, and has a good serve," Djokovic said. "So we kind of play similar, as well. We grew up together. We know each other really well. We have been rivals since and good friends off the court. It's going to be a good match. I don't think it's going to affect him that much that he hasn't played today, but we'll see what happens."
The Scot advanced after second seed Rafael Nadal withdrew prior to their semi-final match with a left knee injury.