KEY BISCAYNE, Fla. —
“I’m sorry,” he added, managing a chuckle. “I’m so sorry. One point. Next time.”
Playing in sunny, 80-degree weather, Murray and Ferrer were both drained in the third set, which started with six consecutive service breaks.
“It was so tough physically and mentally that you were just trying to play each point,” Murray said.
Murray was a point from defeat serving at 5-6. When he hit a forehand on the line, Ferrer stopped to challenge the call. A panting Murray leaned on his racket while replay confirmed the ruling to make the score deuce.
“That’s the beauty of the challenge system,” Murray said. “In some matches, it would have been over. Luckily it just dropped in.”
He won the game to hold two points later, then raced to a 4-0 lead in the tiebreaker. At 4-1, a grinding exchange ended with Ferrer pulling a backhand wide, and he then collapsed to the concrete from cramps.
Ferrer limped through the final two points. When Murray hit a return winner for the victory, he quickly dropped his racket, eager to call it a day. The two finalists then met at the net to trade weary pats on the back.
AP Sports Writer Melissa Murphy in New York contributed to this report.