Monte Carlo proved to be a bump in the road for Novak Djokovic, who defeated Andy Murray, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3, to win his second Madrid title and 64th ATP title overall, tying Pete Sampras and Bjorn Borg for seventh all-time.
Djokovic dominated the first set, with much of it due to Murray simply playing abysmal. Though he has now won 12 of their last 13 meetings and has never lost to Murray on clay (4-0), it’s hard to win 20 of 25 baseline points over a fellow Grand Slam champion without some help.
Murray delivered a plot twist by breaking early in the second and finding the big serves that powered his semifinal win over Rafael Nadal. He dodged trouble in his next few service games to close the second and force a decider.
After being gifted a break to start the third, Djokovic donated it right back in a very nervy set between the two. He fought for it back to serve for the match at 5-3 and instantly fell down 0-40. Showing the same tension as in his semifinal against Kei Nishikori, Djokovic played a shaky game but ultimately saved seven break points and closed out the match.
It’s Djokovic’s 29th Masters 1000 title, which puts him back in front of Nadal, who had re-tied the record with the Monte-Carlo title after Djokovic tied and passed him in March.
Djokovic continues to be lap the field in the ATP rankings. As for Murray, coming up short in defense of his title means he’ll briefly drop to third due to losing a tiebreaker to Roger Federer, but he’ll likely move back up to No. 2 for the French Open.