Tommy Haas served poorly against David Ferrer in the Sony Open semi-final on Friday, which cost him the match. After taking the lead Haas dipped to just 31% of first serves in play in set two and it was all downhill from there for the veteran.
Ferrer goes forward to his first outdoor hard court Masters 1000 final since in 2011 and only his second on this surface overall. He met today's opponent Andy Murray that day in Shanghai and the Scot won in straight sets, but Ferrer has got the taste for the Masters shields now, having won in Bercy at the end of last season.
Murray has a great record in outdoor hard court Masters 1000 finals and has won seven of his ten finals in these conditions so far, with six of those victories coming in straight sets. Ferrer is yet to get the better of Murray on an outdoor hard court in four attempts - although he has won two of the pair’s last three meetings on all surfaces.
I don’t think we’ve seen the best of David this week, with struggles over Haas and Jurgen Melzer and early round cruises over an injured Kei Nishikori and the withdrawn Dmitry Tursunov. He’ll certainly be nervous ahead of this final and anything less than a fast start by the Spaniard is likely to result in a difficult afternoon. I’m expecting Murray to record a fairly convincing win on Sunday.
There are several betting options that appeal in this one and I’m happy to side with the Scot with minus 3.5 games on the handicap today at 1.78. The Miami final is rarely a close affair, with only one since 2005 not being settled in straight sets. Murray looks to have peaked at the right time for this one, so I expect him to get the job done with something to spare.
Best bet: Back Murray -3.5 games to beat Ferrer at 1.78