In the action-packed tennis week, Andy Murray finally won his first ever Dubai Duty-Free title by defeating Spain’s Fernando Verdasco. However at Acapulco’s Mexico Open, 14-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal was not so lucky. The celebrated Spaniard lost the final to USA’s Sam Querrey after his super performance in the tournament. Earlier in the week, Roger Federer was laid low by a rank outsider at Dubai and world no.2 Novak Djokovic lost to Australian Nick Kyrgios in the quarterfinal at Mexico Open.
World no. 1 and top-seeded Andy Murray didn’t look confident as he took to the court in the final against Spaniard Fernando Verdasco at Dubai on Saturday. As the match began, Murray lost his opening service game. Though the Brit broke right back, jitters continued for him in the third game, when he was broken yet again. With Verdasco winning on his service in the fourth game, Murray trailed 1-3 in the first set. It was here that the Scot found his bearings and stopped Verdasco in his tracks. The eventual champion reeled off 5 straight points and went to the second set with renewed vigor. After Verdasco won the first service game of the second set and Murray leveled next, it was a full-throttle run for the Brit. He broke Verdasco in the third game and allowed just one more point to the Spaniard in an easy 6-3, 6-2 victory in the end. It was Murray’s first victory of the year and also his 45th tour-level title. His best finish at Dubai came in 2012, when he had finished runners-up to Roger Federer. Incidentally, Federer had a poor outing this year, when he made a second-round exit from the verge of victory. His conqueror was world no.116 Evgeny Donskoy of Russia. The Federer story appeared in an earlier post by the author at Kridangan.com.
In Mexico Open at Acapulco, USA’s Sam Querrey defeated second seeded Rafael Nadal in straight sets to generate another Mexican shockwave. Earlier in the week, top seed and world no.2 Novak Djokovic had been overpowered by Australia’s Nick Kyrgios in the quarterfinal. But having played great tennis all through the week, Nadal looked like the winner at Acapulco. The Spaniard had not dropped a set in the tournament and his commanding 6-1, 6-2 semifinal victory over Croatia’s no.3 seeded Marin Cilic made him a strong favorite. But Querrey came up with his best tennis against Nadal delivering 19 crunching aces and a number of clean winners. The American began strongly and didn’t face a single break of serve in the first set. He broke Nadal in the eighth game to clinch the first set in just 29 minutes. The second set was more closely fought as Nadal raised his game several notches. But the unlucky Spaniard couldn’t convert any of the six break point opportunities that he earned in second set and allowed the set to slip to tiebreak. Querrey continued with his powerful game in tiebreak and finished a 6-3, 7-6 winner to become the first American champion in the tournament’s 24-year history. It was also his first win over Nadal, who was denied his career’s 70th tour-level title.
The double crown at Dubai was won by Dutchman Jean-Julien Rojer/Romanian Horia Tecau. The pair ended their title drought by defeating Polish Marcin Matkowski/Indian Rohan Bopanna 4-6, 6-3, 10-3. It was the first tournament for Matkowski/Bopanna as a team but Bopanna was seeking his fourth Dubai title with a fourth different partner. The Indian won here in 2012 with fellow Indian Mahesh Bhupathi, with Pakistan’s Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi in 2014 and with Canadian Daniel Nestor in 2015.
Top seeds Jamie Murray(GBR)/Bruno Soares(Brazil) won the Mexico Open doubles title in Acapulco by defeating John Isner(USA)/Feliciano Lopez (Spain) 6-3, 6-3. Murray/Soares continued to exercise control from the very start and didn’t face any break point throughout the match. On their part, the eventual champions broke Isner/Lopez once each in the two sets and notched up a comfortable victory in about an hour.
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