In four matches played on Friday at Crandon Park, the line-ups for men’s singles and women’s double finals were decided. In one semifinal, world no.1 Novak Djokovic defeated USA’s John Isner to set up a clash with Great Britain’s Andy Murray for the men’s singles title. Murray came through to the final after defeating Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic. In women’s doubles semifinal matches, Indian Wells champions and top seeds Sania Mirza/Martina Hingis defeated no.7 seeds Timea Babos of Hungary and Kristina Mladenovic of France and no.2 seeded Russian pair of Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina defeated no.9 seeded Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka.
World no.1 Novak Djokovic became the first player in the tournament to break Isner for the first time in the tournament to register a two-set semifinal win to move into the title round. Isner had been laying low his opponents by his big service and yesterday Japanese Kei Nishikori was left high and dry in the quarterfinal against him. But Djokovic out-served the American with 10 aces to 9 from the American and set up his final match with Andy Murray of Great Britain. The first set continued with both players holding their serves and the result came only in the tiebreak. Djokovic devised a strategy of pressurizing the American on his second serves and moved him around the record to extract errors from him. Once he took the first set at 7-6 in the tiebreak, it became easy for him afterwards. In the second set, the four-time Miami champion controlled the proceedings by breaking Isner early to open up a 4-1 lead and the American knew where the champion was headed. He succumbed to the masterful performance from the Serb, who didn’t allow him any break-point opportunity and ended up taking the match 7-6, 6-2.
In the other semifinal, Britain’s no.3 seeded Andy Murray defeated Czech no.8 seed Tomas Berdych 6-4 6-4 to reach the Miami final for the fourth time. Murray, who reached a milestone of 500 wins in the tournament, has won at Miami twice in 2009 and 2013. Against Berdych, the 27-year-old Scot broke the Czech’s service four times and improved his career record against the Czech to 6-6. The match was a repeat of their Australian Open clash in January, when Murray had won a tense match in four sets but unlike at Melbourne, Murray made a sharper start on Saturday. He broke Berdych before and after dropping his own serve in the first set and won 77 per cent points on first serves. After taking the first set at 6-4, Murray broke the Czech to love early in the second set but yielded the advantage by serving two double faults. Both players had improved performances in the second set but when Murray broke Berdych for the fourth time, it was all over. Berdych is one of the only players outside the Big Four Club, who has been regularly beating Murray but he couldn’t repeat that feat on Saturday. Murray has a second home in Miami and he knows the courts and conditions there as well as anyone. Against Berdych, he produced a great performance and his fist-pumping victory celebration indicated the importance of this victory to him.
India’s Sania Mirza and Swiss Martina Hingis are in line to win their second title in a row as they sailed into the Miami Open final with a straight sets 6-2, 6-4 victory over Hungary’s Timea Babos and Frenchwoman Kristina Mladenovic. In the final on Sunday, Mirza/Hingis will have to deal with no.2 seeded Russians Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina, whom they had defeated in the final of the BNP Paribas at Indian Wells, California, two weeks ago. In the other semifinal today, the Russians defeated no.7 seeded Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka of the Czech Repulic 6-4, 6-2.
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