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Tour report: Double for Djokovic, defence for Serena in Miami

Serena Williams at the US Open 2013
by Alexandra Willis
Monday 31 March 2014

Novak Djokovic completed the remarkable Indian Wells and Miami double for the second time in his career, while Serena Williams claimed her seventh title in Miami. Wimbledon.com reports...

If Novak Djokovic had been displeased at the way 2014 was turning out, the last month must have changed that. In a display that was worthy of his relentless tear through the first half of the year in 2011, Djokovic completed the infamous Indian Wells and Miami double, defeating Rafael Nadal on a sun-drenched Miami Sunday, two weeks after doing the same thing to Roger Federer in the dry desert. 

Djokovic had been impressive against Federer in the surrounds of Palm Springs, but, had been forced to fight back and reel him in, something of a pattern when the pair face off. Against Nadal, however, the Serb was always in front. 

Becoming only the second player to double up in Indian Wells and Miami twice, after Federer did so in 2005 and 2006, Djokovic beat Nadal 6-3, 6-3 in 84 minutes, facing just the one break point, winning 85 per cent of points when his first serve found its mark, and sending quite the ominous reminder that 2014 will be a quiet year no longer. 

"It's been a fantastic tournament, a very enjoyable time as it always is in Miami," said Djokovic. "I played a great match, from the start to the end everything was working really well. It's always a challenge and a pleasure to play against Rafa. Back in 2007 I won my first big title here in Miami and I have the greatest memories from this centre court."

It was also Djokovic's third win a row over Nadal in what was their 40th meeting, also bringing to mind his rampant force against his fiercest rival during that same streak in 2011. And, in fact, it was Djokovic's easiest win over the Spaniard since 2009. But Nadal still leads their head-to-head, 22 to 18. 

Somewhat remarkably, the result means that Djokovic and Nadal are the current holders of all nine ATP World Tour Masters 1000 titles. Nadal meanwhile was left to reflect on the fact that Miami remains one of three he has not claimed, alongside Shanghai and Paris. 

"I want to congratulate Novak and his team, he played an amazing two tournaments in a row," said Nadal. "Winning Indian Wells and Miami is very difficult to do. In no other tournament have I lost this many finals, but it's always a very special tournament for me. The energy and passion from the crowd is unforgettable."

The day before, Serena Williams had demonstrated some energy and passion of her own in a dramatic 7-5, 6-1 win over Li Na to defend her title in Key Biscayne.

Li had Serena very much on the backs of her heels as she romped to within a game of the first set. But, trailing 2-5, the world No.1 battled her way back, saving a set point in the process to snatch it from Li, 7-5. The world No.2 managed to win just one more game as Serena upped the proverbial ante in the second set, relaxing and ripping through the winners to win her seventh Miami title in nine finals. 

"It was a really important victory, especially playing Li Na, who has been playing so well," Williams said. "She started out so well - I was like, 'Oh my gosh, I just need to hang in here.' Then I heard some fans trying to pull me through - if it hadn't been for you guys I wouldn't be standing here right now."

"Really, at that moment, I felt like I had nothing to lose and I was able to relax," she said.

"And whenever I relax, I enjoy myself."

Serena, who hadn't played since February, joins Chris Evert, Martina Navratilova and Steffi Graf as the only four players to win the same WTA event seven or more times. 

The major hard court events thus belong to Djokovic, Williams, Li and Wawrinka. But now the tours move onto clay. And everything can change. 

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