the republic logo

Novak Djokovic won a record-tying sixth Key Biscayne title and his third in a row Sunday, beating Kei Nishikori 6-3, 6-3 in the Miami Open final

bug
Share/Save/Bookmark

KEY BISCAYNE, Florida — When a flyover by a flock of pelicans briefly interrupted 's final service game Sunday, he waved both arms and grinned as if he had just won a championship.

The actual celebration began moments later, when Djokovic clinched a record-tying sixth Key Biscayne title and his third in a row, beating 6-3, 6-3 in the Miami Open final.

After Nishikori shanked the final shot, Djokovic hopped happily near the net and delivered a leg kick, flying high himself. During the trophy ceremony, he recalled winning Key Biscayne for the first time when he was 19.

"I have a very special connection to this tournament," Djokovic told the crowd. "In 2007 it was the biggest title I had won in my career. It has been a springboard for everything coming after that. I certainly hope that the love affair continues in the years to come."

Djokovic matched 's record of six men's titles at Key Biscayne, but then he wins everywhere these days. He's 28-1 in 2016, with the lone loss coming when he retired during his quarterfinal against in Dubai because of an eye infection.

Ranked No. 1, Djokovic earned his 28th ATP Masters title, breaking the record he shared with . He swept Indian Wells and the Miami Open for the third year in a row.

He also recorded his 714th career victory, surpassing his coach, , and moving into 11th place in the Open era.

"That's the most important fact," Djokovic said with a laugh.

The No. 6-seeded Nishikori lost to Djokovic for the sixth consecutive time and was doomed by an erratic serve. He double-faulted five times, and Djokovic repeatedly pounced on his second serve to earn five breaks.

After several days of sweltering conditions, weather wasn't an issue, with highs only in the 70s, but Djokovic made sure the match didn't become an endurance test anyway. He broke in three of his first four return games, dominating rallies in part because Nishikori's shots lacked the precision of earlier matches.

Nishikori required treatment from a trainer on his left thigh late in the second set, but his bigger problem was his opponent.

"Hope I can get you next time," Nishikori told Djokovic during the trophy ceremony.

"I hope you don't," Djokovic responded.

"It's always tough to play Novak," Nishikori said later. "I thought I wasn't playing too bad, but at the same time he played great tennis. He was very patient and he didn't miss."

That was nothing new. Djokovic won all 12 of his sets in the tournament. But he felt he saved his best for last.

"The best two matches I played in Indian Wells and Miami were the two finals," he said. "I'm very pleased with that."

Djokovic earned $1.03 million — the same as women's champion . After winning Indian Wells two weeks ago, Djokovic caused a stir when he said men should earn more prize money than women because they draw larger crowds.

Djokovic overtook as the ATP Tour career leader in prize money with $98.2 million.

The Serb flies Monday to his home in Monte Carlo, where he'll begin the clay season a week later. He's a 10-time Grand Slam champion, and the French Open is the only major tournament he has yet to win.

"I have lots of motivation for the beginning of the clay court season that ends up hopefully with the crown in Paris," he said. "But I'm not the only one who wants to win that big trophy."

PHOTO: Novak Djokovic, of Serbia, returns to Kei Nishikori during their men's singles final match at the Miami Open tennis tournament, Sunday, April 3, 2016, in Key Biscayne, Fla. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
Novak Djokovic, of Serbia, returns to Kei Nishikori during their men's singles final match at the Miami Open tennis tournament, Sunday, April 3, 2016, in Key Biscayne, Fla. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

Think your friends should see this? Share it with them!

Story copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Feedback, Corrections and Other Requests: AP welcomes feedback and comments from readers. Send an email to info@ap.org and it will be forwarded to the appropriate editor or reporter.


Photo Gallery:
PHOTO: Novak Djokovic, of Serbia, returns to Kei Nishikori, of Japan, during the men's singles final match at the Miami Open tennis tournament in Key Biscayne, Fla., Sunday, April 3, 2016. Djokovic won 6-3, 6-3. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)
Click to view (5 Photos)
We also have more stories about:
(click the phrases to see a list)

Category:

Follow The Republic:

All content copyright ©2016 The Republic, a publication of AIM Media Indiana unless otherwise noted.
All rights reserved. Privacy policy.