x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Great Briton thrashes Roddick to retain title

Andy Murray is the new Desert King after celebrating back-to-back tournament victories in Abu Dhabi and Doha in the space of eight days.

DOHA // Andy Murray is the new Desert King after celebrating back-to-back tournament victories in Abu Dhabi and Doha in the space of eight days. Murray, the defending champion of the Qatar ExxonMobil Open, yesterday overwhelmed the American Andy Roddick 6-4, 6-2, who was also seeking to enhance his reputation in the Middle East, having won the Dubai Championship last March. Roddick, who peaked here by eliminating the world No 1 Rafael Nadal in the quarter-finals, had no answer to the court wizardry of the British No 1 who produced a succession of bamboozling passing shots which left the world No 8 looking a forlorn figure whenever he was left stranded at the net.

Murray rose to fourth in the world on the back of a splendid finish to 2008, and is surely destined to go higher if this exquisite display is any guide. His demolition of the strong-serving Roddick was by no means a one-off at the start of a new campaign. He played even better in the semi-finals to continue his personal dominance over former world No 1 Roger Federer. After an even start to the final, Roddick found himself at 0-40 in the fifth game and Murray capitalised on the unexpected opportunity to take charge.

That single break decided the opening set and Murray, who conceded only one break point on his own serve, broke twice in the second set to ensure a routine victory in only 70 minutes. Murray, whose fitness was in doubt beforehand because of a back injury, was given a rapturous welcome on to the court by the near-capacity 7,000 crowd but as it dawned on the gallery that this was developing into a one-sided match applause became less enthusiastic.

A brilliant backhand pass took the Scot to the brink of the title and he accepted that first match point with relish. @Email:wjohnson@thenational.ae