David Ferrer missed out on what would have been the biggest victory of his late-blossoming career in Miami on Sunday by the narrowest of margins. At match point at 6-5 up in the final set, the Spaniard pulled out of a rally and pointed a finger skyward to request a Hawk-Eye replay of an Andy Murray shot which the line judge had not called out.
The ball had in fact clipped the line, by a few millimeters.
The normally tireless 30-year-old then, just for once, wilted a little in the Florida sunshine, at one point seeming to cramp up during the ensuing tiebreaker which he lost 1-7 after a slew of errors as Murray celebrated his narrow escape from defeat.
In the first set it was Ferrer who hit his straps the hardest, blazing his way to a 5-0 lead as the Scottish second seed was easily hustled out of any sense of rhythm by the world number five. Ferrer held his base-line game together well to tie down the first set, but a much-improved Murray came back strongly to take the second and then seal victory in a dramatic third set in which service breaks outnumbered holds by eight to four. The man who will today be ranked ahead of Roger Federer as number two on the ATP list finally won the Miami Masters trophy 2-6, 6-4, 7-6.
For Ferrer, victory in the Sony Open would have been only his second title at the Masters 1000 level after winning the Paris Masters last November.