Novak Djokovic will face Britain’s Andy Murray in the final of the Miami Open for a third time today after the pair triumphed in their semi-finals.The pair have one win each against each other at Miami but Djokovic will be looking for a repeat of his Australian Open win over the Scot – and to improve his 17-8 career record against him.
Third seed Murray delivered a controlled and precise performance to beat Czech Tomas Berdych 6-4 6-4 while Djokovic faced greater resistance in the form of big-serving American John Isner but still won 7-6(3) 6-2.
The first set was on-serve throughout but the Serb emerged victorious from the tie-break and never looked back.
The four-times Miami champion broke twice early in the second to open up a 4-1 lead and from then on the match was out of Isner’s reach.
The big-serving American was unable to create a single break point in the game but the 29-year-old, ranked 24th in the world, will be encouraged by his run to the last four.
“It is always tough to play someone who serves that well, at times it is frustrating,” said Djokovic.
“It is important to hang in there mentally, be patient and make him play. I put a lot of pressure on his second serves, moved him around the court and always made him play an extra shot. I am pleased with my performance.”
Earlier, in bright sunlight and Floridian heat, Murray broke Berdych early in both sets and looked in charge throughout, winning 80 per cent of first-serve points while registering four service breaks.
Berdych made a break in each set himself but with Murray’s defence strong and the Scot making few errors, the Czech was unable to overtake him.
The Scot feels comfortable at Miami where he won in 2009 and 2013 and lost to Djokovic in the 2012 final.
Murray spends his off-season practice time on the stadium court at the Crandon Park Tennis Center and has clearly acclimatised to the heat and humidity.
“I’ve obviously played some good tennis here over the years. The reason for that is because I’m extremely familiar with the conditions, with the surface, the way the court plays,” he said.
“There are little things in the court that maybe players that haven’t played on it that much won’t really know.
“Because I practice on it all the time, I know how the ball bounces in certain areas and which serves work into certain spots on the court and how the ball responds off different spins. So that’s why I feel comfortable on it,” he said.