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Andy on fire heading to California

China Daily | Updated: 2017-03-06 07:14

In top form after winning Dubai, Murray preparing for Indian Wells

Andy on fire heading to California

Andy Murray of Great Britain poses with the trophy after winning the final match against Fernando Verdasco of Spain on day seven of the ATP Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championship on March 4, 2017 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.The world No 1 vanquished Verdasco 6-3, 6-2. [Photo/VCG]

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

Murray, 29, was runner-up to Roger Federer at the 2012 tournament.

Now the Scot and his team will start preparing for the Indian Wells Masters, which opens in Palm Springs, California, in less than a week.

"It's a long flight to Los Angeles and it will take a few days to get over that," Murray said after claiming his 45th career title.

"This win has given me great momentum which I hope to use going into Indian Wells and then Miami."

Saturday's triumph allowed Murray to become the first British champion in the 25-year history of the Dubai tournament.

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

He holds a healthy points lead over world No 2 Novak Djokovic, with the struggling Serb facing immense title defenses pressure in both Indian Wells and Miami over the next four weeks.

Murray is amazed at his winning form, which stretches back to last fall when he made his run to surpass Djokovic for the top ranking.

"It's obviously been a good run. You want to try and peak and play your best tennis at the Slams, but you know, giving yourself a lot of matches gives you confidence to go into those big events," he said.

"Conditions, again, are totally different than at Indian Wells, which is a very slow court with fast balls - the other way around from Dubai.

"I have to get there and adjust to that. Winning this week is fantastic, I feel good. I was a bit tired yesterday, but I felt a lot better today.

"I'm trying to get to Indian Wells much earlier than I did last year, which I think is a good thing.

"Even though it's a long trip, it gives me five or six days to get ready before my first match."

Murray improved his record over 35th-ranked left-hander Verdasco to 13-1.

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

"I think that obviously I had, if not the toughest opponent I can have in the final, then one of them, for sure," said Verdasco.

"He's the best in the world right now. It was obviously a really difficult final to win, but I came trying everything and giving everything.

"I said that being in the final of a 500 after five years is a great week for me and I have to take the positive things."

Agence France-Presse


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