Miami, April 2 (IANS) Serbian tennis star Novak Djokovic advanced to his third straight Miami Open final with a 7-6 (7-5), 6-3 victory over David Goffin, overcoming aggressive hitting by his Belgian opponent and hot and humid conditions here in South Florida.
Djokovic will on Sunday seek his sixth championship at this hard-court event and a record 28th ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title when he takes on Japanese No. 6 seed Kei Nishikori, who defeated 24th-seeded Australian Nick Kyrgios 6-3, 7-5 on Friday, reports Efe.
The world No. 1 started showing signs of fatigue in the first set, but his counterpunching skills thwarted the aggressive game plan of the 15th-seeded Goffin, who smacked 18 winners to the Serb’s eight in the opener and 27 to 21 for the match.
Goffin struck first by breaking the 11-time Grand Slam champion’s serve in the seventh game, but Djokovic broke back immediately to make the score 4-4 and the set eventually came down to a tiebreaker after the Serb escaped a 0-30 hole in the 11th game.
The pressure weighed on Goffin in the tiebreaker and led to some unforced errors that were welcomed by the weary top seed, who also caught a huge break when his shot hit the net cord and trickled onto the Belgian’s side of the court for a fortunate winner on set point.
Djokovic started slowly in the second set as well, but he managed to stay on serve and then got a fresh burst of energy from a dispute with the chair umpire, who gave him a time-violation warning that the Serb considered unfair.
The top seed, who argued that the delay in stepping to the line and serving came after he had turned his ankle and needed a bit more time, used his annoyance to fuel him to a strong finish that ended Goffin’s challenge after just over two hours of play.