In a grueling duel that raised questions about where pro tennis wants to go, Andy Murray won the Sony Open for the second time, claiming a 2-6, 6-4, 7-6 (1) victory over Spain's David Ferrer.
This was not a classic. Neither man played well enough for that. But given the slow speed of the court, the strings that have changed the way the game is played and the fact Murray and Ferrer are friends who practice together before tournaments and therefore know each other's games inside out, it was never likely that we would get anything other than a grinding battle that left both men on the brink of physical collapse at the end of their 2-hour, 45-minute, gut-busting endeavor.
Murray hardly had the energy to throw his wristlet into the crowd and was still slightly breathless by the time he accepted the Butch Buchholz Trophy.
Ferrer was fighting cramps in both legs in a tiebreaker that was no contest from the moment a let cord bounced back at him to give Murray the mini-break on the first ...