In one of the ugliest finals ever played in recent Masters Series memory, Andy Murray outlasted David Ferrer 2-6, 6-4, 7-6(1) to win a second Sony Open title Sunday afternoon in Miami. Murray won 2-hours, 45-minute error-fest in third set breaker that ended a match that had 95 combined errors and 15 breaks of serve, six alone in the final set.
“It’s taking a little while to sink in, because it’s tough to think really at the end of the match,” said Murray. “It was so tough physically and mentally that you were just trying to play each point. I wasn’t thinking too much only because I was so tired and [did] not [have] too many nerves at the end of the match, either.
“I think it was an exciting match. I don’t think either of us played our best tennis. There was a lot of breaks and ups and downs, [and] quite a lot of mistakes from both of us. But what I did do was fight hard, showed good mental strength to get through that match, because it easily could have slipped away from me.”
The 11:30am start seemed to initially throw off Murray who stunningly dropped the first five games of the match going down 5-0. The Scot finally broke through, then the two settled into a litany of breaks, errors and the occasional lengthy, grinding rally.
After six straight breaks of serve in the third the two finally settled down and the stakes increased. With Murray serving 5-6 Ferrer had his first and what would be his only matchpoint. Ferrer stopped the point to challenge if a Murray forehand had gone long giving him the title or if it had clipped the line as called. With the match in the balance the review confirmed the ball good.
As Ferrer received treatment for cramping, Murray, who questioned the Spaniard’s therapy, sailed away with the match easily taking the physically struggling Ferrer in the final breaker. That’s right, a physically struggling Ferrer!
“It was a very close match. I had my chance on the match point,” said Ferrer who’ll return to the No. 4 ranking tomorrow, ahead of Nadal. “The ball, it was really close. I saw it out… I [made] my decision in that moment. It’s a bad moment now. I don’t want to think anymore about that. I want to forget as [fast] as possible.”
Murray’s title – his first from being a matchpoint down – was his 9th at the Masters level and the 26th of his career, second since the US Open after Brisbane. The win also returns him to No. 2 in rankings just behind Novak Djokovic and ahead of both Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.
“For me, it doesn’t change a huge amount, but the fact that I’m moving up the rankings is a good sign,” Murray said. “I have been winning a lot of matches. My consistency has been better over the last few months. The rankings obviously reflect that. So I will try and keep working hard during the clay and hopefully, I can go higher.”
Ferrer, who had won the Paris Indoors in November for his maiden Masters win, was appearing in his first ATP final in America. With his his 31st birthday on Tuesday, a title would have been a great present.
“I know it was a very good chance for me to win Miami,” Ferrer said. “It’s very difficult to win. There will be another situation like today, but my life doesn’t change for one match. I need to work hard and to be focused for the next tournaments.”
Murray now leads Ferrer 7-5 in their series and 6-1 on hardcourts. But there is much respect between the two.
“You’re obviously extremely happy,” Murray said. “Both of us were really, really tired. He was obviously disappointed at the end, but from neither of us there wasn’t a huge contrast in how either of us were after the match, because we were both in the locker room afterwards. I wasn’t up celebrating with my team.
“We were just kind of sitting there, because, we’re just incredibly, incredibly tired after a match like that. That was how I reacted afterwards is just really, really tired, glad that you managed to come through it, and have some fun this evening.”
The clay season begins Monday in Casablanca and Houston.
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