Nadal Withdraws, Djokovic vs Murray Meet in 2012 Sony Ericsson Open Final
Andy Murray earned a trip to the 2012 Sony Ericsson Open in Miami without even swinging his racket. A knee injury forced world No.2 Rafael Nadal to withdraw just hours before his semi-final match against the fourth seeded Scot. Thus, Murray earned an immediate spot in the Men’s Finals Sunday at 1 PM ET on CBS Sports.
“I always try my best, with pain or without, but when I suffer as badly as this I cannot play,” said the 10-time Grand Slam champ. “I am very sorry for the fans. I’m very sorry for the tournament. I’m very sorry for everybody who was ready to watch the match on television, for everybody. I don’t have pleasure. I feel very sad to have to go out before a beautiful match for me — semifinals against Andy.”
So, instead of the much-anticipated No.1 vs No.2 showdown, we will have to settle for The Joker vs Muzz! Murray comes into the Key Biscayne Finals having played all but seven sets, and enjoying a three-day rest due to Nadal’s withdrawal. However, there is such a thing as too much rest when players fail to get into a rhythm due to lack of playing time.
The fact that the Scot has only played 7 sets and will have more time than normal before the final could actually work against him, believe it or not. Murray was asked this very same question this week after hearing the news about Nadal’s injury.
“I don’t know how I’m going to feel but I’ll definitely be fresh,” he said.
After learning that his opponent would be Murray rather than Rafa, Djokovic wasted no time ousting his semi-final opponent, Juan Monaco, 6-0, 7-6(5). Although the Argentine did the best he could in the final-set tiebreak, there was just no way the top seeded Serb was going to let him get any momentum by winning a set.
“In the tiebreak I stayed calm and focused and closed it out when I needed to,” Djokovic said. “All the credit to him for staying in the match, fighting and coming back. It was the semifinals. It was never going to be easy.”
For Monaco, it was the experience of a lifetime, as Miami fans didn’t seem to be on Djokovic’s side much throughout this match. In fact, at one point, the entire stadium began chanting Monaco’s name. With the large Argentinean population that lives in South Florida, the underdog played some inspired tennis, almost forcing a third and final set.
“The crowd started to sing my name, and it was a great feeling for me,” Monaco said after the match. “I started to think a little bit better.”
Nevertheless, Djokovic moves on to the finals where he will face a very familiar foe in Murray. With a 7-5 record overall, the Serb will be very confident after beating him in this year’s Australian Open semi-finals back in January 2012.
“We know each other really well,” Djokovic said. “It’s going to be a good match.”