Murray rallies past Ferrer for Sony Open title
Key Biscayne, Fla. — Andy Murray erased a championship point yesterday and rallied past David Ferrer 2-6, 6-4, 7-6 (1) in a grueling final at the Sony Open.
One point from defeat in the last set, Murray skipped a forehand off the baseline to stay in the match. He then dominated the tiebreaker, while Ferrer appeared to cramp and collapsed to the court after one long point.
The match was filled with grinding baseline rallies, including at least a dozen of more than 20 strokes and one lasting 34. Murray and Ferrer dueled for 2 hours, 44 minutes, and as a result, the 11:30 a.m. start on Easter turned out not to be early enough for CBS.
The network cut away from the final when it went to the tiebreaker, switching to the tipoff of the NCAA tournament game between Michigan and Florida. CBS later showed a replay of match point.
Murray also won the title in 2009. His path to this year’s championship was made easier because Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal skipped the tournament and Novak Djokovic lost in the fourth round.
Murray made a breakthrough last year by winning an Olympic gold medal and his first Grand Slam title at the U.S. Open. He’ll now move ahead of Federer to No. 2 in the rankings behind Djokovic.
He became the first Key Biscayne men’s champion to save a championship point.
The No. 3-seeded Ferrer, who was seeking the biggest title of his career, fell to 0-13 against top-five players in finals. Spaniards are 0-6 in the Key Biscayne men’s final, with Nadal losing three of those matches.
Playing in sunny, 80-degree weather, Murray and Ferrer both appeared drained in the third set, which started with six consecutive service breaks.
Murray was a point from defeat serving at 5-6. When he hit a forehand on the line, Ferrer stopped to challenge the call. A weary Murray leaned on his racket while replay confirmed the ruling to make the score deuce.
He won the game to hold two points later, then raced to a 4-0 lead in the tiebreaker. At 4-1, a 28-stroke exchange ended with Ferrer pulling a backhand wide, and he then crumbled to the concrete, apparently from leg cramps.
Ferrer limped through the final two points. When Murray hit a return winner for the victory, he quickly dropped his racket, eager to call it a day. The two exhausted finalists then met at the net to trade pats on the back.
Bolt Wins 150-meter Race
Rio De Janeiro — Usain Bolt opened his season with a 150-meter win on a track set up at Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro yesterday.
Bolt cruised to victory in 14.42 seconds, falling short of the world-best mark of 14.35 he set on the streets of Manchester in 2009. Brazilian sprinter Bruno Lins was second in 14.91, ahead of Ecuador’s Alex Quinones and Antigua and Barbuda’s Daniel Bailey.
Bolt said he was satisfied with his performance after the race, which was held under scorching heat on a four-lane track built on Copacabana beach in the host city of the 2016 Olympics.
“It was my first sprint race, definitely a good start for the season,” Bolt said. “I’m looking forward to coming down here in 2016.”
Bolt celebrated by dancing with a few Brazilian dancers after the run, which was an official event supervised by the IAAF. There were huge lines as fans tried to get near the track to see the Jamaican star.
Bolt, the first man to successfully defend the 100 and 200 titles at the London Olympics, was in Rio for four days, visiting social projects and participating in promotional events.
Points wins the Houston Open
Humble, Texas — D.A. Points came back from a long rain delay and made four pars. The last one gave him a one-shot victory in the Houston Open and sent him to the Masters.
Points closed with a 6-under 66 yesterday, saving par on the last two holes at Redstone Golf Club to outlast Masters-bound Henrik Stenson and Billy Horschel. The final round was halted for nearly three hours because of storms that soaked the golf course.
Points kept alive the streak of Americans winning all 14 events on the PGA Tour this year.
The victory gives Points a spot in the Masters, just like his only other victory did two years ago at Pebble Beach with actor Bill Murray as his partner.