KEY BISCAYNE, Fla. —
While the basketball game turned out to be lopsided, with Michigan winning 79-59, the tennis couldn’t have been closer. Murray became the first Key Biscayne men’s champion to save a championship point.
One point from defeat in the last set, the Scotsman skipped a forehand off the baseline to stay in the match. Ferrer appealed the call but lost, and he battled leg cramps in the tiebreaker.
“I don’t think either of us played our best tennis,” Murray said. “There was a lot of breaks and ups and downs, quite a lot of mistakes from both of us. But what I did do was fight hard.”
Murray also won the title in 2009. His path to this year’s championship was made easier because Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal skipped the tournament and Novak Djokovic lost in the fourth round.
Murray made a breakthrough last year by winning an Olympic gold medal and his first Grand Slam title at the U.S. Open. He’ll now move ahead of Federer to No. 2 in the rankings behind Djokovic.
The No. 3-seeded Ferrer, who was seeking the biggest title of his career, fell to 0-13 against top-five players in finals. Spaniards are 0-6 in the Key Biscayne men’s final, with Nadal losing three of those matches.
But Murray sang the praises of Ferrer, a frequent practice partner.
“He’s one of the best players in the world,” Murray said. “Every time I play against him, people expect me to win. I say it’s so tough against him. He has a great attitude and is a great fighter.”
Murray has a home 15 minutes from the tournament site, near downtown Miami, and spends three months a year in South Florida. But the sellout crowd was firmly behind Ferrer.
“Playing here in Miami is like when I play in Spain,” Ferrer said during the trophy ceremony to a roar from his rooters.