MIAMI, March 26 (Reuters) - World number two Novak Djokovic ended Andy Murray’s reign as Sony Open champion on Wednesday easing past the sixth seeded Briton 7-5 6-3 to advance to the Miami semi-finals.
For Djokovic, a three-time winner on the Miami hardcourts, the victory was a small measure of revenge as the rivals clashed for the first time since Murray beat the Serb in last year’s Wimbledon final.
Murray, playing his first event since splitting with coach Ivan Lendl last week, had looked increasingly comfortable and confident on his own but Djokovic kept the Scotsman under almost constant pressure in blustery conditions.
The road to a fourth Miami title does not get any easier for Djokovic with a possible semi-final meeting with 17-times grand slam winner and two-time Miami champion Roger Federer up next.
Federer, who lost to Djokovic in the final of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells 10 days ago, takes on Japan’s Kei Nishikori in another quarter-final later on Wednesday. (Reporting by Steve Keating in Miami; Editing by Frank Pingue)