In a tantalizing final matchup, top-ranked Novak Djokovic faces No. 4 Andy Murray on Sunday afternoon at the Miami Open. The two tennis superstars met on March 21 in the semifinals of Indian Wells, where Djokovic prevailed, 6-2 6-3.
Djokovic, the Miami Open defending champion, has endured a competitive tournament, while Murray has had a relatively smooth run to the championship match. Djokovic was tested in the early rounds, needing three sets to defeat No. 41 Martin Klizan and No. 65 Alexandr Dolgopolov, while No. 7 David Ferrer and No. 24 John Isner each forced the Serbian star into tight matches. Murray has had a solid tournament, holding off No. 31 Santiago Giraldo, No. 17 Kevin Anderson and No.9 Tomas Berdych.
The last time Murray defeated Djokovic on hardcourt was at the final of the 2012 U.S. Open in a five-set thriller. Djokovic leads the head-to-head series against Murray, 17-8. On hardcourt, Djokovic has a 15-6 advantage and has won nine consecutive on the surface against Murray.
“That gives me confidence, and maybe a slight mental advantage,” Djokovic said about his success against Murray. “But we’re talking about small margins. That’s always the case when we play against each other.”
Murray is bidding for his third Miami Masters crown, while Djokovic is seeking his fifth. Both players have been in fine form in 2015, with the French Open 44 days away.
Murray, who is getting married next week to longtime girlfriend Kim Sears, owns a home in nearby Miami and practices in Key Biscayne, perhaps giving him a slight hometown edge.
When asked how he can hold off Djokovic in the final, Murray humorously replied: "Play better than I did last week -- that would be a good start.”
Time: 1 p.m. ET
TV: ESPN (U.S.) Sky Sports 3 (U.K.)
Live Stream: ESPN3
Prediction: Djokovic in three sets