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Miami Men's Final Preview - Andy Murray vs. David Ferrer

David Ferrer of Spain celebrates after defeating Tommy Haas of Germany, 4-6, 6-2, 6-3, in a semi-final match in the men's singles of the Sony Open tennis tournament at Crandon Park in Key Biscayne, Florida, Friday, March 29, 2013. (David Santiago/El Nuevo Herald/MCT via Getty Images)

David Ferrer celebrates after defeating Tommy Haas, 4-6, 6-2, 6-3, in a semifinal of the Sony Open tennis tournament at Crandon Park in Key Biscayne, Florida, March 29, 2013. (Getty Images)

The men’s final of the Sony Open Tennis in Miami will feature two of next week’s top four ranked players in the world. But without Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal or Roger Federer in the finals, it still does not really have the feel of a Big Four final.

Sunday’s final sees Andy Murray take on David Ferrer for the trophy. Murray is currently ranked no. 3 and needs to win the title to move past Roger Federer for the no. 2 spot in the world while Ferrer has already accumulated enough points this week to surpass Rafael Nadal at no. 4 in next week’s rankings.

You can be rest assured of some hard-hitting baseline tennis on Sunday. Both Murray and Ferrer are capable of camping on the baseline and running side-to-side all day and this is going to be a war of attrition. Murray’s big match temperament and new aggressive approach gives him the upper hand in this contest.

Murray leads their head to head 6-5. But scratch a bit deeper and Murray’s superiority over Ferrer on hardcourts is reflected in a 5-1 record in the Scot’s favour (for the record, Murray leads 1-0 on grass while Ferrer leads 4-0 on clay). While both players have had good seasons so far, a title on Sunday would be their biggest result in 2013.

Murray is 18-2 for the season heading into Sunday’s final with highlights including a title in Brisbane and the finals at the Australian Open. The only early loss for him came at last fortnight’s Indian Wells event where he lost in the quarterfinals to Juan Martin del Potro. Meanwhile, Ferrer takes a 26-4 record into the final. His 26 wins are the most by any player on the circuit this year and includes titles in Auckland and Buenos Aires and the semis in Melbourne. Ferrer’s only blip this season was a second round loss at Indian Wells to Kevin Anderson.

ndy Murray of Great Britain celebrates his win over Richard Gasquet of France during the semifinals of the Sony Open at Crandon Park Tennis Center on March 29, 2013 in Key Biscayne, Florida.  (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

Andy Murray celebrates his win over Richard Gasquet during the semifinals of the Sony Open at Crandon Park Tennis Center on March 29, 2013 in Key Biscayne, Florida. (Getty Images)

Murray was dismissive of the notion that Ferrer may not be a worthy Big Four member and knows that this is going to be a tough battle. “David, after this week, will be in the top 4 again, and he deserves to be there because of his consistency. He’s also started to play the last few years better in the big events. He made quarters of Wimbledon, semis of the French Open, semis of the Australian Open, semis of the US Open. You know, he’s not struggling to play well in the big events. So that’s why he’s there, and he’ll be a very tough match on Sunday. Ferrer has a great attitude on the court. He fights for every single point.”

Even Murray is fully aware of Ferrer’s never-say-die attitude, “You’re going to have to do more running than against some players that may be 30-Love or 40-Love, may just miss or give you a point almost. You know, it’s not like that with him. He plays every single point hard, and that’s why it’s tough against him.”

Looking ahead to the finals Ferrer commented, “I am in the final. I am very happy for that. I will try to do my best to win on Sunday. It’s going to be very difficult. I think to win a Masters 1000, I need to play my best tennis.” I will try to do my best for to win Sunday.

Speaking about taking on Murray, Ferrer said, “I will have to do everything good. I will have to improve my first serve, to play obviously with my forehand sure for to beat him.”

While Ferrer has been a member of the top 6 in the rankings for every week since June 2011, it was only last November that he won his first and so far only Masters Series title. All his other 19 career titles have come at the ATP 500 or ATP 250 series events.

On the other hand, Murray’s 25 career titles include 8 Masters Series titles, a US Open grand slam and an Olympic singles gold medal. If Murray wins, he and Djokovic would be the top two players in the world – establishing a new order in men’s tennis; one without Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal at the top; one which we may need to get used to!

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