- ATP Tour
Murray becomes world No. 2 after mastering Miami
Andy Murray is up to second in the world rankings after defeating David Ferrer to clinch the Sony Open in Miami.
The Scot was out-of-sorts in the opening set but came back to battle past Spaniard Ferrer, winning 2-6 6-4 7-6(1).
It is the second time Murray has reached the No. 2 spot in the world rankings. The 25-year-old held the position for three weeks back in 2009, and now moves in front of record 17-time grand slam champion Roger Federer in the standings.
The US Open champion gets his hands on a ninth Masters 1000 title, but Ferrer could have been the champion as he had a match point in the final set. Murray battled back from being thumped in the first set to outmanoeuvre Ferrer to seal a second Sony Open crown and avoid losing in consecutive finals.
"It's taking a little while to sink in, because it's tough to think really at the end of the match," said the British No. 1. "It was so tough physically and mentally that you were just trying to play each point. I wasn't thinking too much only because I was so tired and [did] not [have] too many nerves at the end of the match, either.
"I think it was an exciting match. I don't think either of us played our best tennis. There was a lot of breaks and ups and downs, [and] quite a lot of mistakes from both of us. But what I did do was fight hard, showed good mental strength to get through that match, because it easily could have slipped away from me."
The only consolation for Paris Masters champion Ferrer is he will become the highest-ranked Spaniard as he overtakes Rafael Nadal and goes into fourth place, but he will be bitterly disappointed with not being able to win a second Masters title after carving out a match point.
"I know it was a very good chance for me to win Miami. It's very difficult to win," said Ferrer. "There will be another situation like today, but my life doesn't change for one match. I need to work hard and to be focused for the next tournaments."
Ferrer was immediately under pressure as he had to fend off two break points, and in holding to go 1-0 up then capitalised. The Spaniard got his racket onto the end of some powerful Murray serves, and was able to break when Murray found the net.
Ferrer's persistency was forcing Murray into plenty of errors as his opponent was struggling on his serve. By working the Scot all over the court, Ferrer saved another break point and opened up a 5-0 advantage.
Desperate to avoid a whitewash in the opening set, Murray managed to get a couple of games on the board, securing one of the breaks back with a magnificent passing forehand. However, looking like he might claw his way back into the contest, instead he gift-wrapped the set to Ferrer through a double fault.
The first game of the second set slipped away from Murray as Ferrer went 1-0 in front, but unlike the opening set Murray ensured he would not let Ferrer out of his sight. He won two games in a row, getting the break in the process, and pressed home his advantage to go 4-2 up.
A lapse in concentration from Murray in the eighth game saw Ferrer recover the break back, as Murray hit a poor attempt of a drop shot. That did not stop Murray though as he moved in front once again at 5-4 and clinched the set to take the tie into a decider.
Nerves may have been jangling in the third and final set, with both players unable to hold their serves. It took until the seventh game until someone finally did, with Ferrer leading 4-3. Murray was also cutting a frustrating figure as he was unhappy with some movement in the crowd on shots, and he avoided a nasty injury when suffering a tumble.
Murray channelled his frustrations into getting the break at 5-4 which would set him up for the win. However, Ferrer was not beaten yet, and demonstrated his true fighting spirit to seal two games on the spin and go 6-5 ahead.
One match point came and went for Ferrer, and the final was to be settled on a tiebreak. There was drama right at the start of it as Ferrer should have gone 1-0 up, but hit the net chord and saw the ball bounce agonisingly on his side of the court.
Murray seized the initiative and won the opening six points as Ferrer fell apart. The Spaniard, one of the fittest players on the circuit, was struggling with cramp, and seeing his opponent suffer Murray stormed to the finishing line.