The Miami Open is one of the biggest tournaments outside the four Grand Slams. It was first held in 1985, and has since been a prestigious tournament in both the ATP and WTA Tours.
Some of the greatest players in tennis history including Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, Chris Evert, Martina Navratilova, Ivan Lendl and Pete Sampras have all won the Miami Open at some point and have given the crowds some breathtaking moments on court. Carlos Alcaraz and Iga Swiatek were last year’s singles champions, defeating Casper Ruud and Naomi Osaka respectively in the finals.
Over the years, we have seen a lot of finals take place at Miami Gardens and there have been some that contained some terrific tennis and had the crowd on the edge of their seats.
On that note, let’s take a look at the Top 5 finals in the history of the Miami Open.
5. Tim Mayotte vs Scott Davis - 1985
The inaugural Miami Open final between Tim Mayotte and Scott Davis in 1985 is widely regarded as one of the best in the history of the tournament. Back then, the event was known as the Lipton International Players Championships.
Both Americans unseeded at the tournament but produced some splendid tennis to reach the final. Mayotte booked his place in the title clash by beating Jan Gunnarsson 7-6, 6-2, 4-6, 6-1 while Davis defeated 11th-seeded Czech Tomas Smid 7-6, 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 in the semifinals.
Both Americans had a highly aggressive approach toward the match, which was a best of five sets one. Davis won the first two sets 6-4, 6-4 but Mayotte staged a terrific comeback to win the next three sets 6-3, 6-2, 6-4 to win his maiden singles title.
Result: Tim Mayotte won 4-6, 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-4.
4. Andre Agassi vs Pete Sampras - 1995
Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi forged one of the fiercest rivalries in tennis history and the two clashed in the final of the Miami Open in 1995 (then known as the Lipton Championships), which took place in Key Biscayne, Florida.
It was the third meeting between the two in 1995, with their previous two meetings also coming in title clashes. Agassi won the Australian Open final while Sampras came out on top in Indian Wells.
When the first set started at Key Biscayne, Pete Sampras looked confident and he quickly grasped a 3-0 lead before winning it 6-3.However, Andre Agassi had no intentions of throwing in the towel and he roared back in the second set, winning it 6-2.
The final set was tightly contested and Agassi won it 7-6(3) to complete a sensational comeback and win the Miami Open for the second time in his career.
Result: Andre Agassi won 3-6, 6-2, 7-6 (3)
3. Novak Djokovic vs Rafael Nadal - 2011
Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic in the final of the 2011 Indian Wells Open (then known as the Sony Ericsson Open). The Spaniard booked his place in the final by defeating his rival Roger Federer while Novak Djokovic took down Mardy Fish.
It was Nadal's third final at the tournament, having previously lost to Roger Federer and Nikolay Davydenko in previous editions. At the time, he had an upper hand in his rivalry with Novak Djokovic, leading 16-7. However, the Serb won the last meeting between the two in the Indian Wells Open final.
Nadal won the opening set 6-4 but Djokovic brought the match to an equal plane by winning the second 6-3. The third set was tightly contested as neither individuals were willing to throw in the towel, rally after rally, point after point.
Eventually, Djokovic won the third set via a tiebreak to win the tournament and complete the Sunshine Double in the process.
Result: Novak Djokovic won 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (4)
2. Pete Sampras vs Gustavo Kuerten - 2000
Pete Sampras has won the Miami Open three times, the last of which came in 2000 when he defeated Gustavo Kuerten in the final.
At that time, the Brazilian was seen as a menace on clay courts but the same could not be said when it came to hard courts. However, he produced some brilliant tennis in Key Biscayne, beating Andre Agassi in the semifinals. Sampras was expected to win the final comprehensively but the match was anything but one-sided.
Everything was in the American’s favor in the opening set as he won it 6-2. However, Kuerten bounced back in the second set, winning it via a tiebreak. The third set was tightly contested and Sampras won it 7-6(5) to restore his lead in the match. Another tiebreak was played in the fourth set and the American edged out Kuerten to win the tournament.
Result: Pete Sampras won 6-1, 6-7 (2), 7-6 (5), 7-6 (8)
1. Roger Federer vs Rafael Nadal - 2005
Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal forged one of the fiercest, if not the fiercest rival in tennis history. The two played out some terrific matches and one of these came in the final of the 2005 Miami Open (then known as the NASDAQ-100 Open)
This was one year after the first meeting between the two in the quarterfinals of the very same event. At the time, Federer was the best player in the world while Nadal was a precocious talent who was gradually making his way to the top.
The Swiss was the heavy favorite to win the final but it was the Spaniard who dominated early as he won the first two sets 6-2, 7-6(4). Nadal was leading 4-1 in the third set but, then, Federer crafted one of the most brilliant comebacks in the history of the Miami Open.
The Swiss won the third set 7-6(5) and took the next two sets 6-3, 6-1 to win the tournament and complete the Sunshine Double for the first time in his career.
Result: Roger Federer won 2-6, 6-7 (4), 7-6 (5), 6-3, 6-1