KEY BISCAYNE (AP) — Novak Djokovic outserved 6-foot-10 American John Isner and won their semifinal Friday at the Miami Open, 7-6 (3), 6-2.READ MORE: Florida Bill On Race Instruction Gets House Support
The No. 1-seeded Djokovic closed to within one win of his fifth Key Biscayne title. His opponent in Sunday’s final will be two-time champion Andy Murray, who defeated Tomas Berdych 6-4, 6-4.
Djokovic had 10 aces to nine for Isner and never faced a break point. Isner hadn’t lost serve in the tournament until Djokovic broke him for a 2-1 lead in the second set.
Djokovic broke again two games later.
A taut, one-hour opening set created plenty of drama for the capacity crowd. Isner held despite several long service games and erased the only break point he faced, but won only two of five points on his serve in the pivotal tiebreaker.
Djokovic faced his biggest hole serving at love-30 late in the first set. He responded with consecutive aces and escaped.
He totaled just eight unforced to 31 by Isner, who lost 70 percent of his second-serve points.
Djokovic won the Key Biscayne title in 2007, 2011, 2012 and 2014. Serena Williams bids for her eighth Key Biscayne title Saturday against Carla Suarez Navarro.
Murray lost his first service game in each set but recovered and moved closer to his third Key Biscayne title by beating Berdych. Murray won the championship in 2009 and 2013, and was the runner-up in 2012.READ MORE: Police Chase Led To Crash In Lauderhill, Two BSO Deputies Hurt, Driver Charged
The Scotsman has a home in nearby Miami and practices on the Key Biscayne courts.
“I’ve obviously played some good tennis here over the years,” Murray said. “The reason for that is because I’m extremely familiar with the conditions, with the surface, the way the court plays.”
Aside from his two shaky service games, the No. 3-seeded Murray played almost flawless tennis against No. 8 Berdych, extending points with scrambling defense until the Czech would finally make a mistake.
Murray, by contrast, totaled only eight unforced errors from the baseline. He improvised, too, winning points with unorthodox strokes requiring compound adjectives, such as a running shoetop-scoop lob and an underhand-swipe backhand drop shot.
Murray fell behind love-30 serving in the final game but rallied and smacked winners on the final four points, including a nifty forehand volley and cross-court backhand. When a final forehand gave him the win, he screamed in jubilation and repeatedly pumped his arm like a piston.
“I just played a bit better than him. That was the difference,” Murray said. “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.”
The final is Murray’s first since he was runner-up to Djokovic at the Australian Open on Feb. 1, and his first in two years at an ATP Masters 1000 tournament. He’s 9-3 in Masters 1000 finals.
Murray improved to 6-6 against Berdych and has won their past two matches.
“Andy changed the game plan a bit,” Berdych said. “He started to play much more aggressive in the last two matches that he played me. Now I know what to expect and I’ll just be more ready for it.”MORE NEWS: Florida Lawmakers Move Quickly On Keeping Churches Open in Emergencies
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