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, for his first Masters 1000 crown! The Briton made a debut at the Masters 1000 level in Cincinnati 2005 at 18, reaching the quarter-final a year later and suffering an early loss in 2007 to Marcos Baghdatis.
Andy was in fine form during the summer of 2008, losing to Rafael Nadal at Wimbledon and Toronto before going all the way in Ohio for the most significant result in a career before reaching the first Major final a few weeks later at the US Open.
Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray had a strong start, while Roger Federer lost in the third round to Ivo Karlovic, who also reached the last four. 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.
Murray beat Karlovic 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 after ending Nadal's 32-match winning streak in the semi-final and beating all rivals in straight sets, chasing 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 at the Masters 1000 level!
Nothing could separate them in most of the encounter, with Andy taking ten points more to cross the finish line first, saving three out of five break chances and stealing Novak's serve twice from four opportunities. As was expected, Djokovic had more winners and more unforced and forced errors.
They 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.
Andy Murray beat Novak Djokovic for the first Masters 1000 title in Cincinnati 2008.
The youngsters kicked off the clash with four good holds before Novak faced a stern challenge in game five, forcing Andy's error 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 opportunity with a well-constructed attack and a backhand winner and holding after a service winner to remain on the positive side. Andy lost only six points in six service games and claimed the tie break 7-4 following Djokovic's backhand error 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. With momentum on his side, the Briton grabbed another break at 4-3 after an incredible defense and Djokovic's smash error, serving for the title in the next one.
Ready to fight until the end, the Serb saved four match points with strong hitting and earned a break after Murray's forehand error to prolong the battle and his chances. They went into the second tie break, and the Briton grabbed a thrilling rally at 4-4 with a backhand winner.
Andy forged a 6-4 lead when Novak hit a costly double fault and converted the sixth match point at 6-5 with a backhand down the line winner to lift the first Masters 1000 trophy.