After winning the BNP Paribas tournament at Indian Wells, less than a month ago, Novak Djokovic repeated his sublime form at Key Biscayne to win the annual Sony Open at Miami and made the victory more creditable by beating none other than the great Rafael Nadal, world’s no. 1 tennis player. After 2007, 2011 and 2012, this was Djokovic’s fourth Sony Open men’s title. With 6 victories here, only the legendary Andre Agassi has won the Miami Open on more occasions than Djokovic’s 4. Another player, who brought glory to Miami this year, was defending women’s champion Serena Williams. By winning once again at Key Biscayne, Serena rewrote history. She has now won the Miami tournament on 7 occasions and she has overtaken Agassi. She had a great final match against the big Chinese Li Na, whom she beat 7-5, 6-1. A remarkable feature of Serena’s all-time performance at Key Biscayne is winning 67 matches out of 74 played over the last 10 years.
Novak Djokovic has been playing focused tennis for some time now, improving on his first-serve percentage and cutting down on unforced errors. As he said himself in a post-match chat that his best performance came in the final against Nadal. By a strange coincidence, both Djokovic and Nadal entered the final by walkovers. Since Tomas Berdych was down with gastroenteritis, he could not play his match against Nadal. The other semifinal also became a non-event as Kei Nishikori suffered an untimely groin injury and couldn’t play against Djokovic.
In the final Novak Djokovic was a dominant player from the very start and won a high percentage of points on his own serve. Until the sixth game of the first set, Djokovic and Nadal both won their service games but then Djokovic broke Nadal to go ahead. It was easy from this point onwards as Djokovic broke Nadal twice more in the match to win the final 6-3, 6-3 almost effortlessly. Nadal admitted later that Djokovic played better tennis than he did. All through the match, the Serbian world no. 2 kept dictating the proceedings with deep and accurately placed shots. Interestingly, Djokovic got his last break on the final point of the match. It was Rafael Nadal’s fourth final appearance since 2005 but in 10 years since he started playing at Miami, he has never won the tournament.
In the women’s category, the world’s best female player showed her terrific form even at age 32. She came through the tournament stages without any problems and beat Li Na in the final 7-5, 6-1. But the Chinese at one point was ahead 5-2 in the first set. The irrepressible Serena, however, rallied from the brink to stage a 7-5 victory and then ran over Li Na in the second set.
Bob and Mike Bryan won the doubles crown after a stiff challenge posed by Colombians Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah. Bryan brothers are the most accomplished doubles pair in the world but the Colombians gave them a run for their money before losing 6-7, 4-6 in a keenly contested 90-minute final. The victory at Sony Open was Bryan brothers’ 96th title as a team and third at Miami, where they won in 2007 and 2008 as well.
On a comeback trail, 33-year old Swiss veteran Martina Hingis combined with the Germany’s Sabine Lisicki and the duo won the women’s doubles title beating No. 2 seed Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina 4-6, 6-4, (10-5). Hingis and Lisicki were down one set but came back to win the second 6-4. The third set went to super tie-break, in which Hingis and Lisicki prevailed 10-5. The duo had come through an easy semifinal encounter with fifth seeded India’s Sania Mirza and Zimbabwean Cara Black, whom they beat 6-3, 6-4. For Hingis, it was the fifth title at Miami, where she has won two singles title and two doubles titles earlier.