Indian Wells (United States), March 22: A rematch of the Australian Open final, three-time champion Novak Djokovic advanced to his fifth BNP Paribas Open final on Saturday with a ruthless 6-2, 6-3 dismissal of Andy Murray.
"I made a crucial break at the start and Andy was not at his best," said Djokovic, who now leads head-to-head 17-8. "He made a lot of unforced errors and his first serve percentage was low," he added.
The top-seeded Djokovic took full advantage in the opening set, breaking the Scot three times. Just 40 percent of Murray's first serves were in, while three double faults and 16 unforced errors littered the first set. Murray did break Djokovic in game seven but the Serb hit back, breaking to love two games later, to wrap up the opening set in 37 minutes, Xinhua reported.
It was much the same in the second set. Murray gifted Djokovic a fourth break in his opening service game of the second set with another errant forehand. The Scot was thwarted on two rare break points in the fifth game as Djokovic stretched his lead to 4-1. Murray saved two match points, but Djokovic served out victory in 88 minutes, having won more than half the points (28/55) on Murray's serve.
"Obviously I didn't start either of the sets well," said Murray. "That obviously makes things difficult against the best players. Novak didn't give me any free points at the beginning of either of the sets, and I made a few too many errors early on."
Djokovic is bidding to eclipse his coach, Boris Becker, by winning his 50th tour-level title this week. Victory in Sunday's final would see him become the 12th player in the Open Era to claim 50 titles.
The 27-year-old serb is spending his 138th week at world No.1 and he is now just three weeks away from tying Nadal for the sixth-most weeks at the summit of the Emirates ATP Rankings. Federer holds the record with 302 weeks spent at the top spot.