Reigning champion Novak Djokovic beat a stubborn 21st-seeded Juan Monaco 6-0, 7-6 to book a re-match of the 2009 Miami Masters final with Scotland’s Andy Murray today.
Murray, who got the better of Djokovic in the 2009 title match, reached the final through a walkover when Rafael Nadal pulled out with a sore left knee.
Djokovic, meanwhile, breezed through his first set in just 27 minutes and appeared to be cruising to a victory when Monaco improved in a marathon second set which lasted one hour, 36 minutes. It marked the second day in a row Djokovic struggled to finish off an opponent and needed a tiebreaker to clinch it.
“As I did in the quarter-finals, I started very strong, just going for the shots, being very aggressive, then I just wasn’t able to close it out,” said Djokovic. “It was a very similar match to the one against Ferrer. All credit to Monaco for staying in the match, fighting and coming back.”
Murray, though, was surprised to be handed a berth in the final, especially since it was his second walkover victory of the tournament.
“It hasn’t really happened to me that often where even one guy has done that,” said Murray, who had also reached the last 16 without hitting a shot when Canadian Milos Raonic pulled out of their third-round clash.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 1st, 2012.