KEY BISCAYNE, Fla. -- Andy Murray save a championship point before rallying past David Ferrer 2-6, 6-4, 7-6 (1) in the final of the Sony Open on Sunday.
One point from defeat in the last set, Murray skipped a forehand off the baseline to stay in the match. He then dominated the tiebreaker, while Ferrer appeared to cramp and collapsed to the court after one long point.
The match was filled with grinding baseline rallies, including at least a dozen of more than 20 strokes and one lasting 34. Murray and Ferrer dueled for 2 hours, 44 minutes.
Murray also won the title in 2009. His path to this year's championship was made easier because Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal skipped the tournament and Novak Djokovic lost in the fourth round.
Murray made a breakthrough last year by winning an Olympic gold medal and his first Grand Slam title at the U.S. Open. He'll now move ahead of Federer to No. 2 in the rankings behind Djokovic.
He became the first Key Biscayne men's champion to save a championship point.
The No. 3-seeded Ferrer, who was seeking the biggest title of his career, fell to 0-13 against top-five players in finals. Spaniards are 0-6 in the Key Biscayne men's final, with Nadal losing three of those matches.
Playing in sunny, 80-degree Fahrenheit weather, Murray and Ferrer both appeared drained in the third set, which started with six consecutive service breaks.
Murray was a point from defeat serving at 5-6. When he hit a forehand on the line, Ferrer stopped to challenge the call. A weary Murray leaned on his racket while replay confirmed the ruling to make the score deuce.
He won the game to hold two points later, then raced to a 4-0 lead in the tiebreaker. At 4-1, a 28-stroke exchange ended with Ferrer pulling a backhand wide, and he then crumbled to the concrete, apparently from leg cramps.
Ferrer limped through the final two points. When Murray hit a return winner for the victory, he quickly dropped his racket, eager to call it a day. The two exhausted finalists then met at the net to trade pats on the back.