KEY BISCAYNE, Fla. -- As a dramatic men's final at the Sony Open neared its conclusion in a winner-take-all tiebreaker, Andy Murray waged a 28-shot exchange with David Ferrer, who was left so exhausted by the rally he crumpled to the court.
One point from defeat in the last set, the Scotsman skipped a forehand off the baseline to stay in the match. Ferrer appealed the call but lost, and he battled leg cramps in the tiebreaker.
"I don't think either of us played our best tennis," Murray said. "There was a lot of breaks and ups and downs, quite a lot of mistakes from both of us. But what I did do was fight hard."
Murray also won the title in 2009. His path to this year's championship was made easier because Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal skipped the tournament and Novak Djokovic lost in the fourth round.
Murray made a breakthrough last year by winning an Olympic gold medal and his first Grand Slam title at the U.S. Open. He'll now move ahead of Federer to No. 2 in the rankings behind Djokovic.
The No. 3-seeded Ferrer, who was seeking the biggest title of his career, fell to 0-13 against top-five players in finals. Spaniards are 0-6 in the Key Biscayne men's final, with Nadal losing three of those matches.
But Murray sang the praises of Ferrer, a frequent practice partner.
"He's one of the best players in the world," Murray said. "Every time I play against him, people expect me to win. I say it's so tough against him. He has a great attitude and is a great fighter."