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Murray breezes past Verdasco to claim Dubai title

Andy Murray is the first Briton to win the Dubai championships in its 25 year history.
Andy Murray is the first Briton to win the Dubai championships in its 25 year history. Reuters/Ahmed Jadallah

Andy Murray claimed the Dubai Tennis Championships for the first time on Saturday after the world number one swept past the unseeded Spaniard Fernando Verdasco 6-3 6-2.

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It was 29-year-old Murray’s 45th career title and allowed him to cement his position as world number one as he heads to the United States 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. "This week has given me great momentum which I hope to use going to Indian Wells and Miami."

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

The top seed was playing in his seventh final in his last eight competitions and 14th final in his last 16 events.

He holds a healthy points lead over world number two Novak Djokovoic, with the Serb - performing erratically by his lofty standards - facing the pressure of losing ranking points if he fails to defend his crowns at both Indian Wells and Miami over the next four weeks.

In the wake of his triumph, Murray said he was pleased with his consistent form stretching back to last autumn when he made his surge to surpass Djokovic for the top spot. "It's obviously been a good run. You want to try and peak and play your best tennis at the Grand Slams. But giving yourself a lot of matches gives you confidence to go into those big events.

"Conditions, again, are totally different than Indian Wells, which is a very slow court with fast balls - the other way around from here. I have to get there and adjust to that. Winning this week is fantastic.”

Murray made it 13 victories out of 14 against Verdasco in 72 minutes. Despite his defeat, Verdasco, 33, 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 number one in the world right now. It was obviously going to be a really difficult final to win. But I came trying everything and giving everything. Being in the final of a 500 tournament after five years is a great week for me and I have to take the positive things,” Verdasco added.
 

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