Mur­ray too good for Ver­dasco

New Straits Times - - Sport -

Andy Mur­ray so­lid­i­fied his po­si­tion at the top of the rank­ings through a 6-3, 6-2 de­feat of Fer­nando Ver­dasco to win the Dubai Ten­nis Cham­pi­onships for the first time on Satur­day.

Mur­ray, 29, claimed the tro­phy in the emi­rate af­ter fin­ish­ing run­ner-up to Roger Fed­erer in 2012.

Now the Scot and his team face a 16-hour flight half­way around the world to Los An­ge­les to pre­pare for the start of the In­dian Wells Mas­ters in less than a week.

“It’s di­rect but it’s still a long flight, it will take a few days to get over that,” said Mur­ray af­ter claim­ing his 45th ca­reer ti­tle.

“This week has given me great mo­men­tum which I hope to use go­ing to In­dian Wells and Mi­ami.”

His win on Satur­day al­lowed Mur­ray to be­come the first Bri­tish cham­pion in the 25year his­tory of the Dubai tour­na­ment.

He was play­ing in his sev­enth fi­nal in his last eight tour­na­ments and 14th fi­nal in his last 16 events.

He holds a healthy points lead over num­ber two No­vak Djokovoic, with the off-form Serb fac­ing im­mense ti­tle de­fence pres­sure in both In­dian Wells and Mi­ami over the next four weeks.

The Scot is amazed at his win­ning form stretch­ing back to last au­tumn when he made his run to sur­pass Djokovic for the top rank­ing po­si­tion.

Mur­ray im­proved his record over 35th-ranked left-han­der Ver­dasco to 13 wins and just one loss.

He was play­ing in his sec­ond fi­nal of 2017 af­ter los­ing to Djokovic in nearby Doha dur­ing the open­ing week of the sea­son in Jan­uary.

The first three games of the con­test fea­tured breaks of serve be­fore Mur­ray stead­ied, break­ing for 5-3 and tak­ing the open­ing set.

In the sec­ond, Mur­ray earned a 2-1 lead as he eased to vic­tory.

De­spite his de­feat, Ver­dasco will re­turn to the top 30 for the first time since April 2015 thanks to his run to the fi­nal.

Andy Mur­ray

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