Tennis: Djokovic aims for Agassi's record of six Miami Open titles

Novak Djokovic hits a drop shot to David Goffin during the semifinals of the Miami Open.
Novak Djokovic hits a drop shot to David Goffin during the semifinals of the Miami Open.PHOTO: AFP

MIAMI • World No. 1 and defending champion Novak Djokovic will face Kei Nishikori in the Miami Open final today after both had straight-sets wins on Friday .

Djokovic, an 11-time Grand Slam champion whose three titles this year include the Australian Open, downed Belgian 15th seed David Goffin 7-6 (7-5), 6-4.

The Serbian will try to match the record of six Miami crowns won by Andre Agassi by capturing his third consecutive title at the hard-court Masters event.

"It's a privilege just to be mentioned alongside Andre Agassi," said the 28-year-old after coming through in two hours and five minutes.

Djokovic won his 15th consecutive Miami match and the 29th of his past 30, but only after winning a tense tie-breaker and taking the lone break of the second set.

He improved to 27-1 in the season, which has included his 11th career Grand Slam title and crowns at Doha and Indian Wells. He could claim his 63rd career title today and win a record 28th ATP Masters crown, surpassing the mark he now shares with Rafael Nadal.

Nishikori, the 2014 US Open runner-up, downed Australian 24th seed Nick Kyrgios 6-3, 7-5.

"First Miami final, that makes me very happy," said the sixth seed.

Djokovic has a 6-2 career edge over Nishikori, including five wins in a row. Their last two meetings were one-sided, with Djokovic winning 6-3, 6-2, 6-4 at this year's Australian Open quarter-finals and 6-1, 6-1 at last year's ATP World Tour Finals group stage match.

"It's going to be tough for sure. He has been playing well," Nishikori said. "I played him in Australia. I will try to come up with something better."

He broke Kyrgios for 2-1 and took the first set when the Aussie double-faulted away a break.

After an early exchange of breaks, the second set was decided when Nishikori broke in the last game on a wild point.

The Japanese raced to the net to save a ball off the net cord, Kyrgios fired back two tricky returns and Nishikori finally won with a cross-court forehand volley.

"He is somebody that has been around and played so many matches on the big stage," Djokovic said of the world No. 6. "I don't see him being too overwhelmed or nervous."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

ATP MIAMI OPEN

Final: StarHub Ch201, tomorrow, 1am

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on April 03, 2016, with the headline 'Djokovic aims for Agassi's record of six Miami Open titles'. Print Edition | Subscribe