Murray eases past Roddick to retain Qatar Open title

Britain's Andy Murray defeated US Andy Roddick 6-4, 6-2 in the Qatar Open final and retained his title. Murray, who beat both Federer and world N.1 Rafael Nadal last week, is set for a Grand Slam breakthrough at the Australian Open.


AFP - Britain's Andy Murray defeated Andy Roddick of the United States 6-4, 6-2 to retain his Qatar Open title on Saturday and boost his chances of a Grand Slam breakthrough at the Australian Open.

Murray took victory in just 70 minutes, shrugging off fitness fears after he picked up a back injury in his semi-final win over Roger Federer on Friday, a fourth win in five meetings with the 13-time Grand Slam title winner.

Saturday's victory was Murray's sixth win in eight meetings with the American and his ninth career title.

"I think I executed most things pretty well but he still beat me," said Roddick.

"I am pleased with what I have achieved this week. I'm winning more return games and I feel very well prepared for Australia. But he played great, and I think I'm in a majority of people when I say it's a question of when, not if, he wins a Grand Slam."

The 21-year-old Murray, who had also defeated both Federer and world number one Rafael Nadal at an exhibtion event in neighbouring United Arab Emirates last week, will head to Melbourne confident of becoming Britain's first male Grand Slam winner since Fred Perry in 1936.

On Saturday, Murray was again in stunning form, outplaying Roddick, never allowing the fourth seed to disrupt him with net attacks, and winning his points in such a wide variety of ways.

He started very well, holding serve solidly and breaking Roddick in the fifth game, twice passing the American and once getting the ball down awkwardly to his feet. Murray consolidated calmly, reaching 4-2, and 5-3.

Roddick continued with his policy coming to the net more than he used to, but Murray appeared to enjoy having a target, and it seemed that Roddick might need to mix his game up a little more.

But Murray's serve is one of the most improved on the tour, and when he came to close out the first set he moved the delivery up another gear.

Two aces, one service winner, and one cunningly crafted slice second serve to the forehand, without pace and lurching wider and wider, all prevented Roddick from getting a ball into play in that tenth game.

In the second set, Murray was distracted by a delay because the singles post snapped and served a double fault to slip to love-30. But he recovered masterfully, and then broke Roddick again the next game before consolidating for a 3-1 lead.

By now Roddick's early strutting body language had altered to something more sober.

Murray was doing too many things well, and forced a double break when he produced a nicely guided forehand down the line to force the net-rushing Roddick to volley up and out.

After that it was effectively game over and although Murray went break point down in the final game, he saved it with an ace, and closed the match out with his favourite shot, a wrong-footing backhand winner parallel to the sideline.

Daily newsletterReceive essential international news every morning