Djokovic Battles Past Murray In Madrid Final
Serb wins 29th Masters 1000 title
Novak Djokovic now stands alone.
The World No. 1, who was tied with Rafael Nadal with 28 ATP World Tour Masters 1000 titles, won his 29th championship at the Mutua Madrid Open on Sunday. The Serb overcame a worthy fight from defending champion Andy Murray 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 in two hours and six minutes.
The 28 year old continued his mastery over the game's best. He has won 33 of the past 35 sets against Top 10 opponents, over a stretch of 15 matches. He's also won five of the past six and 10 of the past 14 Masters 1000 titles. Djokovic also pulled level with Bjorn Borg and Pete Sampras for sixth on the Open Era titles list with title No. 64.
"It's obviously very flattering to be alongside such legends of the sport, tennis players that I was looking up to, especially Pete Sampras. When I was growing up he was ruling the tennis world," Djokovic said. "It's an achievement that I'm very proud of. As you said, it's a motivation for more. When you get to this particular phase of your career, you need to constantly look for more ways of inspiring and motivating yourself to keep going."
Murray has felt Djokovic's reign. The Scot is 24-3 on clay during the past two years, and two of the losses have come against Djokovic. The World No. 2 also is 2-14 against Djokovic since October 2012. "We played in a lot of big matches. Up until the last couple years it was extremely close," Murray said. "Obviously [I've] managed to win a couple of the big ones against him; lost some tough ones."
Djokovic looked like he would dominate the pair's 32nd meeting in the early going. Murray had erased more than 80 per cent of break points faced in Madrid before Sunday. But he was broken to start the match and again in the first set. Djokovic especially pounced on Murray's second serve, winning five of those six points in the opener.
Murray, meanwhile, struggled against Djokovic's serve. The No. 1 seed lost only three points on his serve during the first set (16/19) and gained the early lead in 31 minutes. "He played unbelievable at the start," Murray said.
But Murray responded in the second set, striking deep groundstrokes to keep Djokovic back. Murray held to start the set and later earned his first break of the match on a Djokovic double fault to go up 3-1. He consolidated the break with powerful serving and served out the set at 5-3 with a drop-shot winner. "He started serving very well, especially down the T and deuce side," Djokovic said. "Very precise and very strong, and he was backing that serve up with aggressive first shots."
The two exchanged breaks early in the third. But Djokovic earned another at 3-2 and erased seven break points at 5-3 to win his second title in Madrid. "Of course I did not want to let that service game go because I know that Andy will capitalise on his opportunities and [would] start to play better if he broke my serve," Djokovic said. "So I fought. I fought very hard, and I'm just glad that I managed to finish that game."
The Belgrade native will receive 1,000 Emirates ATP Rankings points and €912,900. Murray will receive 600 Emirates ATP Rankings points and €447,630. He also will fall to No. 3 in the Emirates ATP Rankings, having needed to retain the title to remain at No. 2. Roger Federer will take his place in the second spot.
|Player||Masters 1000 Titles|
| Roger Federer