Murray gets best birthday gift: beating Novak
Andy Murray celebrated his birthday in style by beating Novak Djokovic 6-3 6-3 in the Internazionali BNL d'Italia final in Rome.
Murray, turning 29 and the first Briton to win the Italian crown in the Open era, was in scintillating form against world number one Djokovic, who had won 12 of his 13 matches against the Scot since the 2013 Wimbledon final. Four-time champion Djokovic was second best against Murray, who beat the Serb for the first time on clay and clinched his 12th ATP Masters 1000 title.
Murray needed less than an hour to overcome Frenchman Lucas Pouille in his semi-final on Saturday, while Djokovic required more than three hours to see off Japan's Kei Nishikori in a game which finished at 11.13pm local time.
Unsurprisingly, a well-rested Murray made the better start. Murray fired 11 winners in the opening set and began the second in similar vein with the confidence to open up with his full repetiore of shot-making.
Djokovic, who would have passed the $100million-mark in prize money with victory, looked weary after his late-night triumph against Nishikori and continually conveyed his displeasure at the conditions with several stares and expletive exchanges with the umpire.
He held serve to trail 4-3 in the decider, but was broken again by a rampant Murray, who claimed the second set 6-3.
Serena Williams had to overcome a stubborn effort from Madison Keys to win the first all-American women's tour final for four years in straight sets in Rome. Williams demonstrated her readiness for the French Open next weekend with a 7-6(5) 6-3 win for her first title in nine months.