Djokovic ends Murray's reign to reach Miami semis

Wed Mar 26, 2014 7:55pm EDT
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By Steve Keating

MIAMI (Reuters) - World number two Novak Djokovic ended Andy Murray's reign as Sony Open champion on Wednesday easing past the sixth seeded Briton 7-5 6-3 to advance to the Miami semi-finals.

For Djokovic, a three-time winner on the Miami hardcourts, the victory was a small measure of revenge as the rivals clashed for the first time since Murray beat the Serb in last year's Wimbledon final.

Murray, playing his first event since splitting with coach Ivan Lendl last week, had looked increasingly comfortable and confident on his own but Djokovic kept the Scotsman under almost constant pressure in blustery conditions.

"I was not surprised about the way he played," said Djokovic, whose coach Boris Becker was also not in Miami as he is taking time off to undergo double hip surgery. "I expected him to play well, to be a little bit more aggressive.

"I tried to not allow him to be in the comfort zone because when he strikes the zone, when he feels comfortable on the court, he's striking the ball so well, maybe best in the world."

The road to a fourth Miami title does not get any easier for Djokovic with a possible semi-final meeting with 17-times grand slam winner and two-times Miami champion Roger Federer up next.

Federer, who lost to Djokovic in the final of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells 10 days ago, takes on Japan's Kei Nishikori in another quarter-final later on Wednesday.

In dramatic contrast to the women's semi between Dominika Cibulkova and Agnieszka Radwanska that ended moments earlier on center court and featured 19 breaks of serve, breaks were hard to come by for Djokovic and Murray in a tight opening set.   Continued...

Mar 26, 2014; Miami, FL, USA; Novak Djokovic waves to the crowd after his match against Andy Murray (not pictured) on day ten of the Sony Open at Crandon Tennis Center. Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports