Home » HEADLINES AND FEATURES, Randy Walker, Top Stories » Djokovic becomes youngest ever men’s champ: On this day in Sony Ericsson Open history

The Sony Ericsson Open in Key Biscayne, Fla., is the biggest, most prestigious tennis tournament in the United States next to the US Open. Its history dates back to 1985 and is documented in pages in my book ON THIS DAY IN TENNIS HISTORY ($19.95, New Chapter Press, www.TennisHistoryBook.com). The following are events that happened in the history of the tournament – also previously called the Lipton Championships, the NASDAQ-100 Open and the Ericsson Open – as excerpted from the book from April 1.

Novak Djokovic

1989 – Less than two hours after thrilling 5-7, 3-6, 6-3, 6-3, 6-2 win over Yannick Noah in the semifinals of the Lipton Championships in Key Biscayne, Fla., Thomas Muster’s career high goes to a career low as he is hit by a car, tearing ligaments in his left knee and forcing him to default the tournament final to world No. 1 Ivan Lendl. Muster is off the tour for only six months, famously training in a specially-made wheelchair that allows him to hit tennis balls. Oddly, his 44th and final ATP Tour tournament victory comes in 1997 when he returns to the Key Biscayne final and beats Sergi Bruguera for the title.

2000 – Martina Hingis defeats Lindsay Davenport 6-3, 6-2 in 58 minutes to win the singles title at the Ericsson Open in Key Biscayne, Fla., ending a five-match losing streak to Davenport and stopping Davenport’s 21-match winning streak. Despite the loss, Davenport replaces Hingis as the No. 1 player in the WTA Tour rankings the next day.

2001 – Andre Agassi wins the Ericsson Open in Key Biscayne, Fla., for the fourth time in his career, defeating fellow American Jan-Michael Gambill 7-6 (7-4), 6-1, 6-0, in the final. It is Agassi’s 48th title of his career

2006 – Svetlana Kuznetsova wins the biggest singles title since winning the 2004 U.S. Open, defeats Maria Sharapova 6-4, 6-3 to win the NASDAQ-100 Open women’s singles title in Key Biscayne, Fla. – her sixth career singles title.

2005 – Roger Federer defeats Andre Agassi 6-4, 6-3 in the semifinals of the NASDAQ-100 Open in what ultimately becomes Agassi final appearance in the event.

2007 – Nineteen-year-old Novak Djokovic of Serbia becomes the youngest men’s singles champion in the history of the Sony Ericsson Open, defeating Guillermo Canas of Argentina 6-3, 6-2, 6-4 in the championship match in Key Biscayne, Fla.. The title is the first “Masters Series” title for Djokovic, who reached the final at Indian Wells two weeks earlier. Djokovic also wins the title without dropping a set, becoming the first player since Ivan Lendl in 1989 to turn that trick. “Every time you win something or you are the youngest player or you make any record, it certainly feels great,” says Djokovic. “It means that your name is in the history of the sport. I am very proud of that.”

2008 – One year after Serena Williams saves match points to beat Justine Henin in the Sony Ericsson Open final, Williams dominates her Belgian rival 6-2, 6-0 in the tournament’s quarterfinals in Key Biscayne in 1 hour, 20 minutes. The meeting is the 13th and ultimately final meeting between the two rivals as No. 1 ranked Henin announces her surprise retirement six weeks later. Williams’ decisive win – the most lopsided in their series of matches – pushes her ahead in the rivalry by a 7-6 margin. Entering the match, Henin had won the last three meetings – all quarterfinals matches at major tournaments in 2007 at the French, Wimbledon and the U.S. Open.

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About Admin
Randy Walker is a communications and marketing specialist, writer, tennis historian and the managing partner of New Chapter Media – www.NewChapterMedia.com. He was a 12-year veteran of the U.S. Tennis Association’s marketing and communications division where he worked as the press officer for 22 U.S. Davis Cup ties, three Olympic tennis teams and was an integral part of USTA media services team for 14 US Opens. He is the author of the books ON THIS DAY IN TENNIS HISTORY and THE DAYS OF ROGER FEDERER

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