MIAMI (Reuters) - Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray renew their rivalry on Sunday in the final of the Miami Open with the Serb looking to extend his dominance over the Scot.
World number one Djokovic has won the last nine clashes of the pair on hard courts and overall has a 17-8 advantage in their meetings.
“Especially with the one just recently in Indian Wells, (my record) gives me confidence and maybe a slight mental advantage,” Djokovic said after beating American John Isner in straight sets in Friday’s semi-final.
Nonetheless Djokovic expects a close contest under the palm trees.
Murray is very much at home on the stadium court at Key Biscayne, where he practices during the off-season and has won two titles - one of them against Djokovic in 2009.
But Djokovic can hardly be said to be a stranger to success at the South Florida venue where he has won four times including his victory over Murray in 2012.
They last met in the semi-finals at Indian Wells last month with Djokovic triumphing in straight sets after having beaten Murray in a hard-fought, four-set battle in the Australian Open final in January.
“We’re talking about small margins,” said Djokovic, “That’s always the case when we play against each other. Very few points, details can decide a winner. We have very similar games.
“I expect a battle, long rallies, and I know what is waiting for me on the court. I know his game pretty well, as well as he knows mine.”
Between them they have won six of the last eight Miami titles.
Murray advanced to Sunday’s final with a 6-4 6-4 defeat of eighth-seeded Tomas Berdych.
“I felt like I served well,” said the Scot. “When I was behind in games, like the last game, for example, I came up with some big serves and was able to dictate a lot of the rallies from the baseline as well.”
Murray passed the milestone of 500 career wins earlier in the tournament and Djokovic said that shows the Briton’s quality and suggests that many more duels lay ahead.
“People maybe don’t realize how difficult it is to reach 500 wins. We both are same generation, so we still have lots of hopefully years in front of us,“ Djokovic said. ”I hope we can play against each other on many other occasions”
Reporting by Simon Evans, Editing by Gene Cherry