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Murray wins as Djokovic retires injured

Andy Murray was gifted the Western & Southern Open after his opponent, Novak Djokovic, was forced to retire with an sore right shoulder.

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NOVAK DJOKOVIC’S REMARKABLE winning streak ended with a grimace, one that puts a new spin on the U.S. Open.

The world’s top-ranked player was forced to retire in the second set Sunday because of a sore right shoulder, giving Andy Murray the championship at the Western & Southern Open.

It was the Serb’s first bad moment in his 57-2 season. Djokovic had won 16 consecutive matches since his only previous loss of the season in the semifinals against Roger Federer on June 3 at Roland Garros. The winning streak has taken a toll.

Djokovic talked about feeling exhausted in Cincinnati, coming off his record fifth Masters series title in Montreal last week. He said his serving shoulder had bothered him for about the last 10 days, but he’d been able to manage the soreness and keep winning.

On Sunday, he couldn’t go on.

“There is no good loss, that’s for sure,” Djokovic. “The good thing is there’s a week, eight days to the start of the Open.

“I’m confident I can recover and be ready for the U.S. Open.”

He was completely off his game against the fourth-seeded Murray, won the first set 6-4 and was ahead 3-0 in the second when Djokovic decided just before the rain came that he couldn’t continue. Djokovic got his shoulder treated after he lost the first set, grimacing at one point.

“I could have maybe played another couple of games, but what for?” he said. “I cannot beat a player like Murray today with one stroke.”

It was Murray’s second title this season.

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Djokovic felt worn-down heading into the final, the strain of all those recent matches catching up with him. He said his loathing for losing was pulling him through matches.

It wasn’t enough on Sunday.

Djokovic was off his game at the outset, repeatedly hitting forehands, backhands and volleys everywhere but in the court. Murray broke his serve to open the match and won 10 of the first 12 points.

“I was generally exhausted playing many matches, but the exhaustion is not the reason,” Djokovic said. “The reason is shoulder pain. I just could not serve.”

The health of his shoulder will become an overriding question heading into the U.S. Open, which starts on Aug. 29. Rafael Nadal is the defending champion, and he’s also got some physical issues — burned fingertips on his right hand that bothered him in Cincinnati.

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