ANDY MURRAY has ended his drought against world No 1 Novak Djokovic after winning the Rogers Cup in Montreal.
The British No 1 needed five championship points and three hours to see off the Serbian 6-4 4-6 6-3 in a tense final, snapping an eight-match losing streak against Djokovic in the process as he scooped his 35th career title.
With the two top seeds renewing their rivalry a drawn-out battle was expected and the players did not disappoint, Murray forcing a total of 19 break points on Djokovic’s serve, but the resilient Serb found reserves to hang in there time after time before eventually succumbing.
Djokovic had been aiming to win his fourth Rogers Cup in his ninth final of the year, but Murray was in determined mood to claim his own fourth ATP Tour title of 2015.
Both players were keen to lay down a marker ahead of the US Open, which begins later this month, and that was evident during fierce early sparring, but first blood went to Murray.
Murray broke Djokovic at just the second attempt but it was not easy as the Serbian survived four break points before going down on the fifth as Murray took an early 3-1 lead. That would become a theme.
Murray faced his first break point at 4-2 and an over-hit forehand put Djokovic immediately back into the match, but he had more joy on the top seed’s serve soon after to clinch the first set 6-4.
Like a wounded animal Djokovic was a man on a mission at the start of the second set, successfully attacking Murray’s serve at the first time of asking, but his own continued to creak as the Briton took advantage of a weak second serve pull it back to 3-3. The Serb made sure of a deciding set by breaking back straight away and going on to win the second set 6-4.
The decider was punctuated by a series of games that turned into wars, with neither man prepared to give away an inch.
Murray put himself 3-0 in front, with Djokovic noticeably looking down towards his right forearm and grimacing between points. But the Serbian does not know how to give up and fought back to put the Scot’s serve under intense pressure at 3-1, forcing five break points in a game that took 15 minutes to complete, before Murray made it 4-1.
Djokovic survived three championship points at 5-2, before Murray eventually claimed the final set 6-3.
Speaking after the match, Murray dedicated the win to his coach Amelie Mauresmo, announcing that she gave birth to a baby boy on Sunday morning.
“My coach Amelie Mauresmo is back home. She gave birth to a baby boy this morning - I’m not sure she will have stayed up to watch this one. I’m sure she was a little bit tired, but Amelie this one’s for you, thank you,” he said.
When asked if he felt preparations for the US Open could be going any better, Murray remained grounded saying: “It’s hard to say. I lost in the first round of a tournament last week in a match many probably weren’t expecting me to lose.
“Things can get better very quickly and they can get worse very quickly in sport, so it’s important for me to analyse what went well this week and things I can still improve on.”