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Djokovic steams into Miami final

sports Updated: Apr 02, 2011 02:27 IST

AFP
Highlight Story

Novak Djokovic's remarkable run continued Friday as he steamed into the final of the ATP's Miami Masters 1000 with a 6-3, 6-1 victory over Mardy Fish.

Djokovic stretched his 2011 winning streak to 23 straight matches and will have a chance to add the Miami crown to the Australian Open, Dubai and Indian Wells Masters 1000 titles captured already this year.

The 23-year-old Serbian, ranked second in the world and seeded second here behind Rafael Nadal, will face either Nadal or third-seeded Swiss Roger Federer in Sunday's final.

In 30 years, only two players have made a better start to a season: American John McEnroe with 39 victories in 1984 and former Czechoslovakian Ivan Lendl with 25 in 1986.

Fish, who will overtake Andy Roddick as the top-ranked American next week, had Djokovic on the defensive early, but couldn't convert two break points.

Then came a rain delay of nearly an hour, time that Djokovic used to regroup.

"I told Mardy at the end I got saved by the rain," Djokovic said. "It really seemed like that. After I went back to the locker room I had 45 minutes to get it together and I felt much better after I came back to the court."

They resumed with the set level at 2-2, Djokovic serving. He saved a break point, then held with an ace.

The real turning point came at 5-3, as Djokovic served for the set. Fish gave himself a double break point, but couldn't to capitalize on either, surrendering the set with a backhand into the net.

Djokovic opened the second set by breaking the American, and cruised home, wrapping it up with a forehand winner.

In all, Djokovic saved six break points and has yet to be broken in 40 service games here.

Djokovic said he would watch the second semi-final between Nadal and Federer from his hotel room.

"Who wouldn't watch?" he said.

Federer and Nadal, who have 110 career singles titles between them, haven't meet on a US court since the 2005 Miami championship match, in which Federer rallied from two sets down to beat Nadal 2-6, 6-7 (4/7), 7-6 (7/5), 6-3, 6-1.

The two giants have met 20 times since their last meeting in Miami with Nadal winning 13 of those, including a dozen finals. In their 22 career meetings, just three have been in the semis of a tournament.

"For me, it's like (a) really special thing when we play each other," Nadal said.

"Because we play always really important matches. Tomorrow is a semi-final. Very few times we played in semi-finals of one tournament.

"The rest of the matches are finals and important for big titles. That makes the rivalry very, very special."

The spotlight was all for the men on Friday in this $9 million men's and women's tournament, with Maria Sharapova and Victoria Azarenka already booked for Saturday's women's final.

Former world number one Sharapova will be seeking her first title since May 2010, and her first in Miami after two runner-up finishes here.

"It would mean a lot," she said. "It's the biggest tournament I think after the Grand Slams. I look forward to going out there and getting it done."

Azarenka, the eighth seed and the 2009 Miami champion, beat third-seeded Vera Zvonareva 6-0, 6-3 in the semi-finals while 16th-seeded Sharapova rallied for a 3-6, 6-0, 6-2 victory over Andrea Petkovic.