Miami: World number one and defending champion Novak Djokovic will face Japan’s Kei Nishikori in the ATP and WTA Miami Open final after straight-set triumphs Friday in which both were tested. 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 28-year-old Serbian will try to match the career record of six Miami crowns won by Andre Agassi by capturing his third consecutive title at the hardcourt event. “It’s a privilege just to be mentioned alongside Andre Agassi,” Djokovic said. Sixth seed 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,” Nishikori said. Djokovic has a 6-2 career edge over Nishikori, including five wins in a row, most recently in this year’s Australian Open quarter-finals. “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.” 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, prompting a post-match kissing of the court. “I wanted to make sure the court feels my love,” Djokovic said. ”
A little kiss for goodbye and I’ll see you in two days. I’ve had so many beautiful memories on that court. It’s one of my favorite courts.” Djokovic improved to 27-1 on the season, which has included his 11th career Grand Slam title and crowns at Doha and Indian Wells. He could claim the Miami-Indian Wells double for the third year in a row and his 63rd career title on Sunday.
Squared 4-4 in the tie-breaker, Goffin hit an overhead smash that Djokovic sent back as a lob inside the far baseline to keep the point alive and later took full advantage by winning it with a forehand drop volley winner. “I was a bit fortunate in the tie-breaker but I made him play the extra shot,” said Djokovic. “I anticipated where he might smash that ball and he framed it a little bit and that allowed me to get that height. Right place at the right time.” Added Goffin: “I was a little bit tired at the end of the point and it was tough to finish it.”