Murray to test theories against Djokovic after 'strange week'


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The Independent Online

Any disappointment Andy Murray felt at being denied the chance to take on the planet's second best player on Friday night will have been quickly replaced by a renewed sense of anticipation as he prepares for today's Miami Masters final against the world No 1.

Within hours of Rafael Nadal pulling out of his showdown with Murray because of a knee injury, Novak Djokovic completed a 6-0 7-6 victory over Juan Monaco in the other semi-final.

Murray admits he has had "a strange week", having not had to strike a ball in three of the six rounds following a bye in the first and the withdrawals of Milos Raonic and Nadal. Ivan Lendl, his coach, has been with him in Miami and Murray had been looking forward to putting some of their theories into practice against Nadal.

"Every time you play one of the top guys in the world, it's a good opportunity to see where your game's at," he said. "We worked on a lot of things to see if certain tactics would work against Rafa, Novak and Roger [Federer]. It would have been nice to see whether or not those things were working."

Today Murray will have the chance to assess how his game stacks up against Djokovic, who has lost in the semi-finals of his last two tournaments. But the Australian Open champion has looked in good shape in Miami, winning all five of his matches with something to spare.

Djokovic and Murray will be meeting for the third time this year. Djokovic won their Melbourne semi-final, when Murray went within five points of victory after a marathon that lasted nearly five hours, while last month the Scot won their semi-final in Dubai in straight sets. While Djokovic has won seven of their 12 meetings as senior professionals, the score stands at 5-5 on hard courts, the favoured surface for both men. The Serb and the Scot both enjoy the conditions in Miami, where Murray won the title three years ago and Djokovic triumphed in 2007 and 2011.

Agnieszka Radwanska, the world No 4, claimed one of the biggest victories of her career when she won last night's women's final, beating Maria Sharapova 7-5 6-4. The 23-year-old Pole, who has lost only to Victoria Azarenka this year, has won four tournaments since last year's US Open.