Second seed Andy Murray became the first ATP World Tour player to save a match point in the Sony Open Tennis final on Sunday, edging third-seeded David Ferrer 2-6, 6-4, 7-6(1) for his second Miami trophy. With the win, Murray will rise to No. 2 in the ATP Rankings, overtaking Roger Federer.
Murray claimed his ninth ATP World Tour Masters 1000 crown and first since Shanghai in 2011, when he also prevailed over Ferrer for the title. The Scot, who also triumphed at Crandon Park in 2009, is the seventh player to win multiple titles in Miami. He improved to 26-14 in tour-level finals and collected his second trophy of the year, having successfully retained his trophy in Brisbane (d. Dimitrov).
“It's taking a little while to sink in, because it's tough to think really at the end of the match,” said Murray. “It was so tough physically and mentally that you were just trying to play each point. I wasn't thinking too much only because I was so tired and [did] not [have] too many nerves at the end of the match, either.
When asked about his rise to World No. 2, Murray said, “For me, it doesn't change a huge amount, but the fact that I'm moving up the rankings is a good sign. I have been winning a lot of matches. My consistency has been better over the last few months. The rankings obviously reflect that. So I will try and keep working hard during the clay and hopefully, I can go higher.”
Ferrer was looking to win his second ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title, following his victory in Paris this past November (d. Janowicz). The 30 year old dropped to 5-7 against Murray in their head-to-head series and 0-13 versus Top 5 opponents in title matches.
“I know it was a very good chance for me to win Miami. It's very difficult to win,” said Ferrer. “There will be another situation like today, but my life doesn’t change for one match. I need to work hard and to be focused for the next tournaments.”
In a match full of twists and turns, Ferrer rolled to the first set by being the steadier player. Ferrer capitalized on all three of his break points, while Murray committed 19 unforced errors, including four in the final game. The Scot tossed in his third double fault when he faced set point.
In a near role reversal, it was Ferrer who struggled to stay consistent in the second set, particularly off the forehand wing. While he broke Murray back to get to 4-all, he immediately lost serve, allowing Murray to close out the set. Ferrer matched Murray’s first set count of three double faults and 19 unforced errors.
The two exchanged six breaks to begin the third set before Ferrer ended the streak to hold for a 4-3 lead. Murray then won two straight games to put the match on his racquet, but a loose game saw Ferrer get back on serve. Leading 6-5, Ferrer reached match point, but his decision to stop play and challenge a forehand by Murray sealed his fate, as HawkEye confirmed the Scot’s shot landed on the baseline. Murray then cruised in the decisive tie-break to clinch the longest match of the tournament in two hours and 45 minutes.
“It was a very close match. I had my chance on the match point,” Ferrer said. “The ball, it was really close. I saw it out… I [made] my decision in that moment. It's a bad moment now. I don't want to think anymore about that. I want to forget as [fast] as possible.”