Djokovic crushes Monaco to set up final with Murray
By Bill Scott Mar 31, 2012, 1:38 GMT
Miami - Novak Djokovic will meet Andy Murray for the third time in three months as he defeated Argentine Juan Monaco 6-0, 7-6 (7-5) on Friday for a spot in the final of the Miami Masters.
Murray, seeded fourth, stands 1-1 in 2012 with his world number one Serb rival, losing an Australian Open semi-final while winning one in Dubai last month.
Murray advanced with his second walkover of the week as Rafael Nadal quit before their semi-final with a chronic knee injury.
Djokovic was ruthless in the first set against Monaco, the surprise packet of the semi-finals. The South American had nothing to give on court against the on-fire top seed a day after turning 28. Djokovic owns their series 5-0.
'I started very strong, just going for the shots, being very aggressive, then I just wasn't able to close it out,' said the winner. 'All the credit to him for staying in the match, fighting and coming back.
'It was a semi-final, it was never going to be easy. I didn't expect an easy match and just happy to be through.'
The Serb who won 10 titles in 2011 and is defending the Miami crown, holds a 7-5 lead over Murray, whom he has defeated in three of their five previous meetings.
Djokovic ran out the first set in 27 minutes - the shortest ATP set since 2008 - with Monaco managing a handful of points. But the Argentine steadied to start the second with a reassuring hold.
Djokovic showed his killer streak as he saved three break points in the eighth game to march to 5-3.
But as in his previous match when he failed to serve out a win on his first opportunity, Djokovic again faced three break points and saved the trio but was caught by a double-fault to yield an eighth break point of the evening, which he drove into the net to drop the game, 5-4.
With the set - which lasted for more than 90 minutes - heading into a tiebreaker, Djokovic eventually prevailed as he hit a forehand into the net on a first match point but finished off on his second chance from a Monaco error.
In the unplayed match, as soon as he knew he would not be playing the left-handed Nadal, Murray hit the practice courts for right-handed sessions with Czech Radek Stepanek and Indian Leander Paces.
'I guess the one benefit here is that there is a day in between matches, so I'll have tomorrow to practice with eighties,' said Murray, who has benefited from an unprecedented two walkovers this week. Canadian Milo's Raonic was the other.
'I've done a lot of practising, a lot of hitting balls this week, not a lot of match play. It's been quite a strange week. Hopefully the final, whoever it is, is going to be fit and well and we can have a good match.'
Nadal said he has been troubled by his knee for some time. 'Since the beginning of the tournament I have problems, but the thing is growing worse every day. After the last match, I saw that the situation (was) going to be complicated to play today.
'I waited until this morning. I had a lot of treatment yesterday, hoping to recover a little bit for today. But I'm not ready to compete today. There is nothing else I can do.'
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