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Djokovic Ends Murray's Miami Reign

Miami, U.S.A.

Djokovic© Getty ImagesNovak Djokovic played Andy Murray for the 20th time on Wednesday afternoon in Miami.

Novak Djokovic kept alive his hopes of winning the Sony Open Tennis title for a fourth time on Wednesday afternoon.

Second seed Djokovic beat sixth seed Andy Murray, the 2009 and 2013 champion, 7-5, 6-3 in the quarter-finals and will now play No. 20 seed Kei Nishikori.

Djokovic is bidding to win the Indian Wells-Miami title double for a second time. He achieved the feat in 2011. Two weeks ago, he captured the 42nd trophy of his career at the BNP Paribas Open (d. Federer), his 17th ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title.

"That tournament win is very special for me from a mental point of view, because I struggled throughout the whole tournament, did not play on a very high level, had to fight back in many matches from set down," he said. "I managed to win that tournament knowing that I haven't played my best tennis.

"That gives me even more confidence and self belief that I need in this moment, and I feel that here in Miami I'm playing better. But still it's not on the level that I want it to be, but it's progressing and developing as the tournament goes on."

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Second seed Djokovic settled into the match quickly and put Murray under pressure in the fourth game. But clever forehand placement and a degree of patience in long baseline rallies helped Murray save two break points at 30/40 and advantage. Sixth seed Murray, who uses Crandon Park — venue of the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournament — as one of his training bases during the year, appeared to struggle for consistency on his backhand early on in the breezy conditions, but his movement up the court kept Djokovic on the back foot.

Djokovic experienced a brief lapse in concentration at 5-5, gifting Murray his first break opportunity, however three strong serves got him out of trouble. With little separating the pair, the 53-minute opener looked set for a tie-break. but Murray lost his serve to love – with Djokovic winning the last seven points.

Disappointed to have lost the first set, Murray refocused and his game, temporarily, reached new heights. In the fifth game of the second set, he drew Djokovic to the net at 30/40 and anticipated the server’s response to strike a backhand volley for a crosscourt winner. He ran to his chair with a 3-2 lead.

However, his renaissance was short lived. Two double faults, when serving at 3-2, cost him dear as Djokovic went on to four games in a row to wrap up his ninth straight victory. The pair’s 20th meeting lasted just over 90 minutes.

"In the second, even when I was broken, I felt like I still have chances and I still believe that I could win in straight sets," said Djokovic. "I think I was calmer in the important moments where he wasn't. He lost his composure, I think, and made unforced errors and allowed me to win."

Murray’s last win over a player in the Top 10 of the Emirates ATP Rankings came in July 2013, when he beat Djokovic for his historic Wimbledon title. He underwent minor back surgery last September and recently split up with Ivan Lendl, his coach of two years.

"I had many opportunities today like 30-all games and love/30s on his serve, and I didn't serve so well when I went ahead in the second set," said Murray. "I would have liked to have done that better, but I was hitting the ball better from the back of the court. I was playing aggressive. I was taking the ball early. I was trying to come forward a bit. My game is not far from where I want it to be."

Murray has won nine ATP World Tour Masters 1000 titles.

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