Having lost to Novak Djokovic in the Madrid final a week before and failing to defend his first Masters 1000 title on clay Djokovic and Murray battled once again but this time in Rome.
Having not dropped a set all week the Brit arrived into the final in good shape with wins against Kukushkin, Chardy, Goffin and a 6-2 6-1 demolition of Lucas Pouille in the semi-finals.
Djokovic’ path was a little more tricky. He had to come from a set down on two occasions before winning including losing the first set 0-6 to Thomaz Bellucci in his second round match. Djokovic saw off Robert and Nadal in close matches and seemed to be nursing a Madrid hangover. He produced another comeback to defeat Kei Nishikori in three but could he really ruin Andy’s 29th birthday?
Andy was the aggressor early on, the Brit pummelled some exceptional forehands flying past the world number one to break for a 3-1 lead.
Murray’s level of tennis continued with a theme of excellence really punishing Djokovic who is usually so difficult to bully on the baseline but Murray had his card marked.
The Birthday boy after breaking in the fourth game didn’t look back and sealed the first set 6-3 with a lovely sliced drop shot winner from the back of the court to take the opener.
With Djokovic you just know that he isn’t going to go away and he made life difficult for Murray who brought out some brave tennis including serve and volley down break point at 1-2.
The world number three was not put off by a slight scare and continued to boss proceedings. On break point he set out his intentions on the Djokovic serve returning from a high up position in the court and finished the point at the net very quickly to break the Serbian’s serve!
Andy Murray continued to glide around Court Centrale in Rome toying with the world number one.
Murray didn’t have to worry about serving for the title as his unmatched defence and lightning quick anticipation sealed it with this stupendous match point to win his first title in Rome 6-3 6-3…