In the most exciting Cincinnati final in five years, Andy Murray took down his coeval and great rival Novak Djokovic, 7-6, 7-6 on August 3, 2008, lifting the first Masters 1000 crown! The Briton made a debut at Masters 1000 level in Cincinnati 2005 at the age of 18, reaching the quarter-final in 2006 and suffering an early loss a year later to Marcos Baghdatis, determined to change that in 2008 when he entered the draw as world no.
9. Andy was in fine form that summer, losing to Rafael Nadal at Wimbledon and Toronto before going all the way in Ohio for the most significant result in a career, reaching the first Major final a few weeks later at the US Open.
Both Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray had a strong start while Roger Federer lost in the fourth round to Ivo Karlovic, the semi-finalist together with those three youngsters. Andy lost the opening set against Carlos Moya in the quarters before shifting into a higher gear, dominating in sets two and three to book the clash against the Croat that he won 6-4, 6-4 despite losing serve twice to advance into the first Masters 1000 final.
Novak Djokovic stood on the other side of the net, ending Nadal's 32-match winning streak in the semi-final and beating all rivals in straight sets, chasing already the fifth Masters 1000 crown and the third of the season after Indian Wells and Rome.
After two hours and 23 minutes of exhausting battle, Murray took down the Australian Open champion in two tie breaks for the second win over the Serb in as many weeks after Toronto, in what had been their sixth meeting all the Tour, all at the Masters 1000 level!
Nothing could separate them in the most of the encounter, with Andy taking ten points more that secured the win for him, saving three out of five break points and stealing Novak's serve twice from four opportunities.
As was expected, Djokovic had more winners and more unforced and forced errors.
There were neck and neck in the mid-range and extended rallies, and the Briton forged the advantage in the shortest exchanges to prevail in straight sets.
The youngsters kicked off the clash with four good holds before Novak faced a stern challenge in game five, forcing an error from Andy to save a break chance and bringing the game home after 11 minutes to avoid the setback.
Djokovic was in trouble again two games later, erasing a break point with a well-constructed attack and a backhand winner, holding after a service winner and setting up a tie break despite winning only six points in Murray's six service games.
In the breaker, Novak sprayed a forehand error to find himself 4-1 down, repeating a similar mistake in the next point and allowing Andy to seal the set at 6-4 following a backhand error from Djokovic after 71 minutes. Untouchable on serve since the beginning of the encounter, Murray finally experienced problems at 1-1 in set number two, repelling two break points with fantastic winners before Djokovic converted the third when Andy's backhand landed long.
Instead of confirming the lead, Novak netted a backhand in the next game to lose the advantage and allow Murray to get back on the positive side of the scoreboard. With the momentum on his side, the Briton grabbed another break at 4-3 after an incredible defense and a smash error from Djokovic, serving for the title in the next game.
Ready to fight until the end, the Serb saved four match points with strong hitting, earning a break after a forehand error from Murray to prolong the battle and his chances. They went to the second tie break where the Briton grabbed a thrilling rally at 4-4 with a backhand winner to stay ahead, building a 6-4 lead when Novak hit a costly double fault and converting the sixth match point at 6-5 with a backhand down the line winner to move over the top and lift the trophy.