Novak Djokovic extended his winning streak against Britain’s Andy Murray to seven matches with victory in a gruelling Miami Open final.
The world number one prevailed 7-6 (7-3) 4-6 6-0 in hot and humid conditions to win his fifth Miami title.
Djokovic, 27, takes his record against Murray to 18-8, and the Serb will tie Rafael Nadal’s total of 141 weeks at the top of the rankings on Monday.
Murray, who gets married next Saturday, will move up from fourth to third.
The Scot, 27, twice led by a break in the first set and looked to have the momentum heading into the decider, but ultimately came up short once again.
“It has been a good start to the year for me so far,” he told the crowd. “I’m not quite there where Novak is at, but I feel I am getting there. I just need to keep working hard.”
Djokovic beat Murray in Indian Wells only two weeks ago, while the Briton’s last victory over the Serb came in the 2013 Wimbledon final.
Murray clearly decided it was time to try a different approach and attacked relentlessly from the outset, especially on the return of serve.
It brought rewards, but both men were struggling with the bright Florida sunshine and the first 10 games were won from the same end of the court.
Murray had seen two leads disappear in that time and did well to hang on after Djokovic finally held from the tricky end, the Scot recovering from 0-30 to force a tie-break.
Some loose play led to Murray falling 4-0 behind, still facing the sun, and two poor forehands let Djokovic off the hook after he twice got back to within two points.Unblock the FIFA World Cup with ExpressVPN the #1 Trusted Name in VPN