Murray eyes birthday treat

Andy Murray turns 29 on Sunday and he is keen to make it a birthday to remember. But he has plenty of work to do if he is to get the better of the world’s No.1 player Novak Djokovic bidding to make it a hat-trick of titles at the Foro Italico.

Murray though is confident his game is good enough to finally beat Djokovic for only a second time in 14 meetings.

“I haven’t won many matches on my birthday before – I don’t remember any which isn’t a great sign,” he said. Hopefully that will change this time. I’m really happy. I’d love to win the final and get another Masters title on clay and my first here.

“Novak’s played very well this year and improved his game for the big match at the end of tournaments.”

Djokovic has to recover quickly from a gruelling three-set match against Kei Nisikori on Saturday evening which took three hours and much could depend on whether an ankle injury settles down.

“He’s definitely in form,” said the world No.1. “We played a thrilling match in finals of Madrid. One week later we meet again.

“I’m excited to go out and battle. I don’t have too much time to recover, but I have had these particular situations few times in my career, and I’ll try to get the best out of it and get out on the court giving my all, as always.”