Djokovic Takes Madrid Title: How The Final Was Won – ATP World Tour

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Top seed and 2011 titlist Novak Djokovic survived a stern test from second seed and defending champion Andy Murray for glory on the clay of the Caja Magica, notching the title 6-2, 3-6, 6-3.

Djokovic now leads the FedEx ATP Head2Head 23-9, taking 12 of the past 13 encounters. He captured an unprecedented 29th ATP World Tour Masters 1000 crown. Murray, meanwhile, came up short in his bid to lift a 12th Masters 1000 trophy. He falls to No. 3 in the Emirates ATP Rankings with the defeat.

Here is how the final unfolded…

FIRST SET – Djokovic 6-2
The Caja Magica transformed into a bullring on a crisp Sunday evening in the Spanish capital, with two of the ATP World Tour’s fiercest competitors locking horns for a 32nd time. The roof was open following persistent rain showers earlier in the day, and Djokovic immediately took advantage of the slower conditions.

Murray’s serve came under fire in the opening game of the match, with Djokovic lunging for a backhand volley winner to secure the first break. Having dropped serve just once all week, the Serb was in cruise control in the early stages with the quick break in hand.

Standing tall on the baseline and imposing his game on the World No. 2, Djokovic won 15 of the first 18 baseline points and nine of the first 10 on his serve. The 2011 champion snatched a second break for 4-1 and with ATP legend Manolo Santana, Portuguese football legend Luis Figo and Madrid Mayor Manuela Carmena looking on, Djokovic would slam the door on the opening set 6-2 after just 31 minutes.

SECOND SET – Murray 6-3
In Saturday’s semi-final victory over Kei Nishikori, Djokovic was dominant in rallies lasting under five shots, winning 51 to the Japanese’s 33. But the Serb took a different route to claiming the first set on Sunday, winning nine of 10 points between five and nine shots.

Murray looked to change the script in the second set, taking a more aggressive approach. He stepped into the court, firing a mammoth backhand winner to escape trouble at 1-1 30/30, and the Dunblane native would benefit from a Djokovic double fault a game later to surge ahead 3-1. The uncharacteristic lapse in focus from the top seed suddenly swung the momentum to Murray’s side of the net. He would consolidate for 4-1 behind four consecutive service winners, including two clutch aces, at 0/30.

Murray was poised to take a bite out of Djokovic’s ruthless recent record against Top 10 players, which had seen the Serb win 32 of the past 33 sets. The World No. 1’s second-serve points won plummeted from 83 per cent in the opening set to 33 per cent in the second, as Murray continued to attack. After being thoroughly outplayed at the start, it was all Murray in the second. The Scot would send the match to a decider on Court Manolo Santana with a sublime drop shot winner.

THIRD SET – Djokovic 6-3
Murray was prime to carry the momentum into the third set, immediately applying pressure on Djokovic’s opening service game. At deuce, the Serb gambled with a risky kicking second serve that barely clipped the tramline. It paid off and he would go on to break Murray in the next game for a 2-0 edge. But the lead would be short-lived. A double fault at 30/40 in the next game brought proceedings back on serve. That’s two breaks on two double faults to that point, after being broken just once entering the final.

As hard as Murray had fought to get back in the match, Djokovic would raise his level with audacious shotmaking at the most critical moments. A clinical down-the-line backhand at 3-2 30/40 would secure the decisive break for the Serb. Djokovic painted the line with a lofted shot off his preferred wing to edge ahead 4-2.

Carrying a 21-5 record in deciding sets in tour-level title matches, Djokovic would be forced to fight for win No. 22. Against Nishikori, he struggled to close out the match, squandering a 40/0 lead when serving for it in the second set, and he would once again feel the effects of nerves with the match on line. Needing to turn aside seven break points at 5-3, Djokovic survived the late onslaught that included a pair of rocketed forehand winners from Murray. The valiant effort from the Scot would not be enough as Djokovic converted his third championship point to prevail after two hours and six minutes. 

Djokovic Takes Madrid Title: How The Final Was Won – ATP World Tour