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Andy Murray save a championship point before rallying past David Ferrer 2-6 6-4, 7-6 (1) in the final of the Sony Open on Sunday.
One point from defeat in the last set, Murray skipped a forehand off the baseline to stay in the match. He then dominated the tiebreaker, while Ferrer appeared to cramp and collapsed to the court after one long point.
The match was filled with grinding baseline rallies, including at least a dozen of more than 20 strokes and one lasting 34. Murray and Ferrer dueled for 2 hours, 44 minutes.
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.
He became the first Key Biscayne men's champion to save a championship point. "Both of us fought as hard as we could, both struggling physically at the end,'' Murray said. "I just managed to come through.''
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.
Murray lives 15 minutes from the tournament site, near downtown Miami, and trains 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.
"I'm sorry," he added, managing a chuckle. "I'm so sorry. One point. Next time."
Playing in sunny, 80-degree Fahrenheit weather, Murray and Ferrer both appeared completely drained in the third set, which started with six consecutive service breaks.