NOVAK Djokovic earned his fifth Key Biscayne title, beating Andy Murray for the seventh straight time and showing superior stamina in the heat to win the Miami Open final 7-6 (3) 4-6 6-0.
Djokovic pushed his career record against Murray to 18-8, adding this triumph to victories over Murray this year in the Australian Open final and the semi-finals of the Indian Wells Masters.
“I could not ask for a better start of the season, winning three big titles,” Djokovic said.
“Hopefully I’m able to use this for the claycourt coming up. That’s extremely important for me obviously leading up to French.”
“It was just very tough, brutal conditions for both of us,” Djokovic said.
“We tried to stay mentally tough, both of us, and kind of hang in there, battle, and wear down the other player physically.
“There were lots of exchanges, a lot of long rallies. I was expecting that coming into the match, but one thing is to really expect and the other is to really experience it and really go through it on the court.”
Djokovic became the first man to complete the Indian Wells-Miami Masters title sweep three times, having also done so in 2011 and 2014.
On Tuesday (EST), Djokovic will tie Spain’s Rafael Nadal for the sixth-most weeks spent at the top of the rankings, sitting atop the summit for the 141st week in his career.
Even though Murray makes Miami his training base, he said he struggled physically late in the two-hour, 46-minute match.
“I played very well for a couple of sets. Maybe I could have done a little bit better in the tiebreak in the first set, but, yeah, that was it,” he said of his fast fade in the third.
Murray said he wasn’t sure what he could do differently to avoid the problem.
“I’ve trained as hard as I can,” he said.
“Maybe I could have hydrated a little bit better or whatever, but I don’t think that I can do a whole lot more physically to get in much better shape.”