Saturday 3 December 2016

Andy Murray claims China Open title without dropping a set

Published 09/10/2016 | 15:19

Britain's Andy Murray reacts as he plays against Bulgaria's Grigor Dimitrov. REUTERS/Thomas Pete
Britain's Andy Murray reacts as he plays against Bulgaria's Grigor Dimitrov. REUTERS/Thomas Pete

Andy Murray secured the China Open title with a 6-4 7-6 (7/2) victory over Bulgaria's Grigor Dimitrov in Beijing.

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The world number two, who was competing in his ninth final of the year, did not drop a set throughout the tournament and secured the win after Dimitrov hit a forehand long.

Murray continues his quest to top the world rankings following his fifth title of 2016 as he closes the gap on current world number one Novak Djokovic.

He got off to the best possible start by breaking the Bulgarian's serve in the opening game of the match before holding his own to double his advantage at the beginning of the first set.

In game seven, the Scot had two chances to gain another break and though Dimitrov held on to close the gap to 4-3, Murray closed the set out 6-4 despite landing only 29 per cent of his first serves.

That gradually improved in the second set to a final figure of 49 per cent, Murray winning 73 per cent of those points.

He was aided by unforced errors by his opponent before he turned the screw with the first break in the second set to go 3-2 up after Dimitrov dragged a forehand wide.

The Bulgarian continued to struggle with the Murray serve and added to his downfall with more unforced errors as the 29-year-old had the opportunity to serve for the championship.

But Dimitrov made a timely first break of the match to tie the set at 5-5 before both men held with ease once again and headed into a tie-breaker.

Murray gained the mini-break with the first point and though Dimitrov hit back, Murray won six of the next seven points to earn his maiden China Open title.

The newly-crowned champion will remain in China as he returns to action at next week's Shanghai Rolex Masters.

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