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Murray v Djokovic as it happened

Cincinnati Masters

Final result:

A MURRAY (GB) beats N DJOKOVIC (Ser)

7-6 (7-4) 7-6 (7-5)

LATEST ACTION (all times BST)
606: DEBATE
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By Chris Whyatt

2250: The presentations are bone-shakingingly cheesy, hailing the "warriors from Serbia and Scotland" before giving big love to each and every single one of the sponsors who helped stage this magnificent blah blah blah. But its Murray who deserves our undivided spotlight right here and now. Thanks for your company folks. Here are your closing thoughts on the British number one... and one of the rising stars of world tennis:

"Go Andy go! World number one here you come!"
Colin Sumner, Port Talbot, on 81111

"A very good performance that nearly went spectacularly wrong, but a well-deserved maiden Masters title for an ever-improving player. He'll never silence the critics, but he shouldn't be trying to. All he can do is win, and he's done so here. He's now the biggest dark horse for the US Open outside of the 'big three'." Bulletmonkey on 606

2245: "It was a huge relief to close it out," says a sanguine Murray, who is no doubt bursting with joy on the inside. "There were a lot of long rallies, your legs burn, and they are some of the toughest conditions you'll play all year.

"Composure has been key. I stayed calm throughout and didn't waste any energy. I kept fighting - maybe in the past I would have let it get to me. I'm a lot more comfortable now, fighting with the players at the top. My physical work off the court is really paying off now."

Andy Murray wins the Cincinnati Masters: his first Masters Series title.

SECOND SET

Murray 7-6 Djokovic
Murray starts the stronger - 2-1. And then challenges a forehand which Hawk Eye proves too long. But he's standing firm: 3-2. Djoko looks shattered. And produces a fifth double fault. Mini-break restored for Andy: 4-2. The atmosphere is very strained. Murray then totally wastes the perfect chance to go cross-court at the net and pushes long down the line. And another unforced error from the Scot. This is painful.

But also delicious... as, after a rally which takes both players to the North Pole then the South Pole and everywhere inbetween, Andy unleashes a stunning stand-still cross-court passing shot. He passed up four before... here's two championship points for Murray. Unbearable tension. A fifth goes begging. But not a sixth!!!

Murray 6-6 Djokovic
Murray takes first point. And the second! As Novak limps a forehand into the net. But there's a too-low lob from the Scot, then another gaffe, and it's 30-30. The crowd is perfectly silent during points, and chirrups nervously inbetween. Deuce after ANOTHER Novak unforced error. But the Serb takes the spoils in a truly outstanding rally. Real poise and power. He has held. This would be a miraculous recovery. A second set tie break is upon us...

2225: "Come on Andy. I'd love to have an early night, but the suspense is killing me!"
Andy Kerr, Dunfermline, on 81111

Murray 6-5 Djokovic
Bristling with renewed vigour, Novak opens a flesh wound to take the first point. But Andy, standing tall and defiant, applies some dressing to take it to 30-15. Two game points as he guards fantastically at the back of the court. Defence is such an art in this sport. Novak then jumps daintily to dink a cunning drop shot over the net to take a point. But Andy makes a crucial hold... and the pressure is back on the Serb, now serving to stay in the match.

Murray 5-5 Djokovic
Sledgehammer ace, his sixth, from Novak takes it to 40-15. And he holds with ease. Andy attempted to probe there but just didn't get the chance.

Murray 5-4 Djokovic
Double faults at 15-0 but he's a stubborn old soul is Andy. Nervous too though - 30-30. And Novak, fingertips on the edge of the cliff, earns himself break point. Superb serve though. What a save! He then spurns four - yes, four - championship points, with Djokovic fighting harder than an ancient pub brawler. And getting luckier than a Las Vegas chancer.

Ouch. Novak finds a fingerhold and earns himself a second break... converted. This is now a real test for Murray. Bet he's got you all on the edge opf your seats, eh? Wonderful bravery there from the Serb. My fingers hovered over the MURRAY WINS keys.

Murray 5-4 Djokovic
Murray takes it to 15-30 by forcing a poor volley from Djoko, which flies hideously long and loose. The Scot then earns two break points by rolling over the top of a forehand which whizzes past the Serb. More great defence - real in the trenches stuff - and Murray breaks! He's serving for the title now - one of the biggest moments of his tennis career.

2200: "I'm watching the match in my hotel on holiday in Mallorca. Come on Andy!" Stuart from Birmingham on the 81111 texts

"What will this do to his rankings if he wins! At least he can do what Henman never could! Come on Murray!"
Toby, 12 years old and from Northampton, on 81111

Murray 4-3 Djokovic
That's nice to see to. After Djoko slips badly at 15-0, Murray shouts across in his Scottish brogue: "You okay?" He is: no damage to the Achilles. Andy then slam-dunks a smash for 30-15... but wow! Nole then runs right around the ball to spank a blistering forehand across Murray's decks. Andy holds though with an outstanding cross-court forehand. He is just so comfortable from deep on hard courts.

Murray 3-3 Djokovic
Murray v Djokovic could be a sort of value/ lite range rivalry to Federer and Nadal's frenzied joustings. This is their sixth meeting and they really do make an excellent match-up. Both got that simmering anger about them. That was an easy hold there for Djokovic by the way - one of those games where the players subconciously agree to take a break.

Murray 3-2 Djokovic
Luuuuuuuvverly lob from Djokovic earns him a point for 30-15 but the Serb looks like he's been stung by a bee. He's riled. Another petulant error and Murray makes a relatively simple hold. The heat looks to be growing. Can I just repeat myself? What a break-back from Andy.

Murray 2-2 Djokovic
Nole opens with a second double fault. And Murray, digging deep just when the moment requires, earns himself a McTasty break point. He takes it! Sensational to break back instantly and the British number one looks so at home in this elevated company

"This is awesome from Murray. Djokic is more on edge than a long tailed cat in a rocking chair shop."
Marc, Liverpool, on the 81111 texts

Murray 1-2 Djokovic
Real trouble for Murray at 15-40 with Novak - ahead on the Scot's serve for the first time since the opening point - proving what a fighter he is. Andy saves one break point with an athletic save as he races to fetch a Djokovic pushed forehand from behind him. Then open the shoulders on his forehand to save the second break. Magnificent.

Deuce. On the backfoot, Murray pushes a simple forehand long. Another break point and the crowd are getting rowdy... and Novak gets the first break of serve - that's massive.

Murray 1-1 Djokovic
Glimmer for Andy at 15-30 but Djokovic rallies, in the mental sense, to earn a game point with a pinpoint, sliced backhand beyond Murray before finishing it off with a delicate pushed overhead shot reminiscent of tennis in the 1920's. Novak holds.

Murray 1-0 Djokovic
What can you say about that? Murray sails that hold to love. A total of 31 unforced errors from Novak in the opening set tells a story. But you get the impression Andy is, in some way, forcing them with the force of his personality. He will not let Djokovic find any rhythm.

FIRST SET

Murray 7-6 Djokovic
Murray pulls his first ace out of the bag to take it to 3-0, after some inventive tennis earns him a crucial advantage. Novak then goes wide with a wild forehand. Murray again pounces on another Djokovic mistake. 5-1. Murray dictates a medium length rally, but flails one into the net... but he's a rock right now. With maximum aggression, he racks up four set points. But a broken string upsets the rhythm. Fear not, it was a momentary laspe. The Djoker was pushed into corners from which he could not escape - Murray takes the first set.

Murray 6-6 Djokovic
Super volley from Murray, pushing it instinctively into the depths, flies past Djoko for the first point. Then, at 30-0, the crowd rise in raptures after the best rally of the match when Djoko eventually lobs Andy before the Scot scampers back and sends back a wide return. A lame challenge gives Murray a breather. And he holds, clinically. This is really, really close.

Murray 5-6 Djokovic
The Serb produces a brilliantly timed backhand on the rise but Murray then takes him to the brink: 15-30. Arrrrgghhhhhhh! A very weak Murray backhand fluffs that window of opportunity though there's a hint Novak stopped, and put him off, during the rally. After some stunning Murray defence Djoko claims another fairly epic rally... and holds. Captivating. Enjoying yourselves?

Murray 5-5 Djokovic
Murray mixes his direction on serve and sends one to the backhand. Clever. Then reads the Serb perfectly after drawing him in close to the net. More confident rallying forces a weak Nole forehand low into the net. The Scot cruises to that hold with real nous.

Murray 4-5 Djokovic
Djokovic's raquet takes a pounding as the Serb smashes it to the floor when granite-tough Murray forces 15-30. But Novak banishes the red mist with some unspectacular tennis - "damn it!" cries Murray - to hold his serve once again. Andy must hold himself now to stay in the set. Another of those crucial mini-tests for the Scot.

Murray 4-4 Djokovic
With each player producing some superb angles, Murray closes in on the net to take it to 40-15. Both are such smooth hitters - perhaps Djokovic is slightly more inventive. Easy hold for Murray though and the intensity of the opening games has subsided somewhat.

Murray 3-4 Djokovic
Andy's kicking off with the umpire about a ball which is too soft... something like that. He won't want to get too distracted. Djokovic, not looking that comfortable, just cannot get past a deep-lying Murray's belligerent defence and is taken to deuce. A break point then forces Novak to produce a stunningly audacious drop-shot with spin which jags towards the crowd to take it back to deuce. Earns the advantage but the Serb's unforced error means another deuce. But, showing the nerve of a world number three, he holds.

Murray 3-3 Djokovic
Murray is looking to serve to the Serb's forehand, which is a little loose with its direction so far today. As evidenced by a gutteral scream from Djokovic that echoes out into the azure-blue Cincinnati sky. Murray holds to love.

Murray 2-3 Djokovic
The players hit the ball so low that, again, it flies up high off the net cord but Djokovic stays cool to win the first point. Murray's returning typically strong. The Serb produces one of the worst second serves ever seen on Planet Tennis, the ball flying long on the wrong side of court, before Andy forces deuce. Four times. He's turning the screw. This is tense. Superb rhythmic rallying from Murray earns a first break... but no. Deuce again. Djokovic scrapes the hold - but you can almost see the mental battle taking shape here.

Murray 2-2 Djokovic
Both players look in very good nick. Bit of luck for the Serb as a Murray forehand pings high off the net cord for an easy smash. But the Scot, moving very smoothly around the baseline, confidently holds despite the pressure Djokovic exerts.

Murray 1-2 Djokovic
Djoko dragged Murray all over the shop at one point there, as well as deceiving him with a clever short second serve. Another easy hold for the Serb and, in spite of the blazing high sun, it's just 37% humidity on court compared to 87% a couple of days ago.

Murray 1-1 Djokovic
Already Murray clasps his fingers together for a little pumped fist after, crucially, drawing back to 15-15. A point later he snaps forward to slam a high and wild Djokovic forehand right past the Serb for 40-15... and clinches the hold a point later.

Murray 0-1 Djokovic
Djokovic, switching sides with ease, pins a smooth backhand right on the line to win the first point of the match. We could be in for some epic rallies here. Then serves out a simple 40-15 hold. Looks very hot out there in Ohio, not a cloud in the sky.

2015: But it's not all about Murray. World number three Djokovic, lest we forget, won the 2008 Australian Open so he knows his way around a hard court. Both players are 21 years of age which is, frankly, incredible. They have finished knocking up. Novak won the toss - and has elected to serve. Here we go....

2009: "Murray has to be prepared to change tactics during the match...he has all the tools...now just the execution."
Drew, in Crieff, on the 81111 texts

Saw a highlights re-run of Murray's recent victory over Djokovic in Canada. Which reminded me just how well his is playing. He orchastrated some stunning rallies and kept his cool and patience when Novak was the conductor. And we know about his returning ability, but he's showing real guile in and around the net when chasing down drop-shots or short balls.

2007: The nine tournaments which comprise the ATP Masters Series constitute the most prestigious tournaments in men's tennis - behind the Grand Slam events. Djokovic has won some, but Andy hasn't.

Victory here would mean a major breakthrough for the Scot - who, with one of the wispiest beards this side of Gandalf, listens on as the British anthems beats out and the sun beats down.

1959: Or will a cackling Djokovic - aka Nole, The Serbinator, etc - exact a dastardly revenge mission? Because Murray, of course, beat the Serb only a matter of days ago in the Toronto quarter-finals, producing some seriously sublime tennis to win 6-3 7-6 (7-3)... his first victory over Novak in five attempts.

Praise be for that internet gizmo (and mobile phones) because these big sporting events are truly enhanced by your interaction. Please let me know where you are following the action and what you think of it.

1950: Greetings sports fans. So confident is Andy Murray right now that, after producing a trilogy of unthinkable inch-perfect lobs while easily swatting aside 6ft 10in Croatian Ivo Karlovic in yesterday's semi-final, he instantly declared that impending world number one Rafa Nadal was his preferred opponent in today's final. Oh well.

The British number one didn't get his wish - it's world number three Novak Djokovic that stands between Murray and his first Masters Series triumph after the Serb ended blister-suffering Nadal's 32-match unbeaten run last night in the second semi-final.

But I don't suppose he'll be too down about it, eh? Like Batman in recent box office-buster 'The Dark Knight', can Murray extinguish the anarchic threat of The Djoker?




see also
Murray into Cincinnati quarters
31 Jul 08 |  Tennis
Cincinnati photos
31 Jul 08 |  Tennis
Federer overcomes Ginepri scare
29 Jul 08 |  Tennis


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