Dubai – Andy Murray won the Dubai Championships for the first time as the Britain tennis player defeated Spaniard Fernando Verdasco in straight sets.
The world number one dropped his first two service games but recovered to win 6-3 6-2 in one hour and 14 minutes.
It’s Murray’s first tournament win of 2017 and the 45th of his career, which will see him extend his lead over Novak Djokovic at the top of the rankings.
“I’m obviously very happy to do it here for the first time,” said Murray. “It’s been a good start to the year,” he added.
It was slow start, but strong finish. Murray went into the final with a 12-1 record against Verdasco, but the Scot made a slow start to the final, losing his first two service games and throwing in four double faults.
Murray managed to get himself level at 3-3 and was rarely troubled again. Murray beat Verdasco for the 13th time in 14 meetings since 2007.
Verdasco, 33, let a 40-0 lead slip in game eight, firing a forehand wide on break point and Murray served out a set in which his returning ability had made up for some erratic serving.
The Briton’s game came together in the second set and a forehand pass gave him the early break for a 2-1 lead.
When Murray ran down a seemingly hopeless point to force another break point at 4-2 it was as good as over for Verdasco, and the top seed ended with the kind of clinical service game he had lacked at the start.
The final proved a far more straightforward contest than his quarter-final against Philipp Kohlschreiber, which saw Murray save seven match points and win an epic 31-minute tie-break.
“Often when you get through matches like that it settles you down for the rest of the tournament,” said Murray.