Andy Murray played superb tennis all week and his efforts culminated in taking the China Open title in Beijing by beating Bulgaria’s Grigor Dimitrov in the final on Sunday. The much anticipated showdown between Murray and Rafael Nadal had already become a non-event, when the Spaniard lost his quarterfinal against Dimitrov. On the same day in Rakuten Japan Open at Tokyo, Australian Nick Kyrgios had to dig deep into his physical reserves before defeating Belgium’s David Goffin in three sets to secure his first ever ATP World Tour 500 title. In women’s draw at Beijing, Poland’s Agnieszka Radwanska walked off with championship honor after defeating Great Britain’s Johanna Konta.
Great Britain’s Andy Murray didn’t drop a set at China Open at Beijing and his steady form helped him take another ATP World Tour title. Murray also became the 16th player in the Open Era to have won 40 or more such titles in his career. Of the currently active players, he is fourth behind Roger Federer’s 88, Rafael Nadal’s 69 and Novak Djokovic’s 66 Tour-level titles. The Beijing victory was Murray’s fifth of 2016 season after he won at Wimbledon, the Rome Masters, Aegon Championship at Queen’s Club and the gold medal at Rio Olympics. The Scot also inched closer to world no.1 Djokovic for the year-ending top spot in Emirates’ ATP rankings. He is currently 1555 points behind the Serb but before Barclays ATP World Tour Finals at London; Murray stands a chance of narrowing the gap further at ATP1000 tournaments at Shanghai and Paris.
In Sunday’s final, Murray began by breaking Dimitrov and that single break was enough for him to take the first set at 6-4. The Bulgarian made things difficult for himself in the opening set by committing 21 unforced errors. Murray looked like walking away with an easier victory as he took a 3-2 lead in the second set. However Dimitrov still came up with a late surge as Murray began serving for championship at 5-4. The Bulgarian matched Murray equally in the longest rally of the match that lasted 43 shots and ended in Dimitrov’s favor. That point led to more aggression from Dimitrov and he snatched the break back from the Scot. Even as the set slipped to the tiebreak, Murray refused to give up and played creditably in taking the set and the match at 6-4, 7-6.
In the final of the Rakuten Japan Open at Tokyo, Australia’s Nick Kyrgios fought hard against no.5 seeded David Goffin of Belgium. The 21-year old Australian lost the first set but refused to yield. He needed to work hard in saving 11 out of 12 break points against him and produced 25 aces through the match. After set scores were level at 4-6, 6-3, the two competitors got engaged in a fierce fight in the final set. Goffin was just two points away for the title as Kyrgios slipped to 4-5, 0/30 on his service. The Belgian almost earned a match point, when he wrong-footed the Australian but his backhand clipped the top of the net. Kyrgios made full use of the reprieve and wound up the set by holding his service and taking the next two points as well. The 4-6, 6-3, 7-5 win gave Kyrgios his first ATP World Tour 500 title. The Australian had played a tough semifinal on Saturday against Frenchman Gael Monfils that could not be gauged from the 6-4, 6-4 score-line. Therefore he didn’t have much time for the match preparations against Goffin, who had looked a better player at times. But Kyrgios found his footing and got lucky in the end.
While Andy Murray won his 40th Tour-Level title in China Open, Poland’s Agnieszka Radwanska won her 20th in same tournament at Beijing. The Pole beat Murray’s vastly improved compatriot Johanna Konta in straight sets 6-4, 6-2. Like Murray, Radwanska also had a great outing at Beijing, where she too didn’t drop a set during the week. She raced to a 5-2 lead in the first set against Konta before the Brit found her game. She closed the gap to 5-4 and just when her comeback looked imminent, Konta missed a simple volley and lost the first set. Radwanska was relentless in the second and didn’t allow Konta any easy time as she finished her victory at 6-4, 6-2.
Women’s doubles title at Beijing was won by no.5 seeds Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Lucie Safarova, when the American/Czech duo defeated top-seeded Frenchwomen Caroline Garcia/Kristina Mladenovic 6-4, 6-4. The men’s doubles crown was taken by Spain’s Rafael Nadal/Pablo Carreno Busta, who defeated the American/Australian pair of Jack Sock/Bernard Tomic 6-7, 6-2, 10-8 in a hard-fought match. In Tokyo, the doubles title fell in the bags of Marcel Granollers/Marcin Matkowski. The Spanish/Pole pair beat South African/American team of Raven Klaasen/Rajeev Ram 6-2, 7-6.
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