Murray cruises to title
Image © Getty Images
Andy Murray captured his first title of the year and improved his overall career total to 45 as he became the first British male to win the Dubai Tennis Championships in its 25-year history following his 6-3 6-2 victory over Fernando Verdasco.
It's nice to win and I played much better as the match went on
It was MurrayÈs seventh final in his last eight tournaments, and 14th in his last 16 dating to last May in Madrid with the US Open and Australian Open the only two he failed to reach the title round.
ItÈs been a great run. CanÈt complain about much, Murray said. Giving yourself a lot of matches gives you confidence to go into those big events (Grand Slams).
Dubai was the first tournament Murray has played since he lost in the Australian Open fourth round only to reurn home and discover he had shingles, from which he recovered.
After the break that I have had, to get five matches in, six if you include the doubles, in six days is a really positive thing physically, he said.
The final was not a classic, unlike his quarter-final against Philipp Kohlschreiber which included that 31-minute, 20-18 second set tie-break in which he survived seven match points.
In fact, his last wo matches were slow burners with the world number one starting slowly. In the final, the first three games were service breaks with Murray delivering three doubles faults but once he had found his range, he took command to sweep past the Spaniard, currently ranked 35.
He pushes you, Verdasco said later. At the same time, I didnÈt really feel, of course, as comfortable or hitting the ball as clean as days before.
Murray was relaxed following his win. "It’s nice to win and I played much better as the match went on," the Briton said
"I started a little bit slow, but I was solid. I wasn’t afraid to attack his forehand side. He’s got one of the best forehands, but I tried to move him around the court as much as I could.
"I defended pretty well and moved well. I served a lot better as the match went on. It was obviously good to win the first tournament here.
"Maybe today it could have been a bit of nerves. Yesterday I didn’t feel particularly nervous, but today, sometimes in a final there is a bit more pressure. You’re playing for something and sometimes you want to start a little bit quicker."
Murray’s next tournament is the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, which begins on March 9, a tournament he has never won before, but he hopes to carry his form from Dubai into the first Masters 1000 event of the year.
"The conditions are totally different there," said the Scot. "Indian Wells is a very slow court with fast balls and the other way around here, fast court with quite slow balls. So, obviously, I have to get there and adjust to that.
"But winning this week is fantastic, and obviously winning matches builds confidence."